Saturday, January 16, 2016

The mayor washes his hands on the backs of the homeless

Since de Blasio was voted in -- even before he was inaugurated -- the rich, the conservative and the middle-class comfortable have been more than grousing, more than worrying. They've been warning and predicting with the assurance of a street corner evangelist predicting Armageddon, that he'd bring New York City back to the "bad old days" of muggings and race riots.

Political executive office holders who win on a progressive ticket in this country feel compelled to show the rich, the conservatives and the comfortably middle class that their administration is not bent on destroying the fabric of society, increasing crime or allowing riots in the streets or desecrating their pristine neighborhoods.

Its a familiar story. Progressives overcompensate by being more reactionary than the reactionaries. I don't blame this on the progressive politicians. I blame it on the biased, bigoted, comfortable conservatives who complain about everything that doesn't directly benefit them and have zero faith in the potential of anyone but their own kind.

I received an email from the local councilmember passing along a particularly underhanded de Blasio effort to remove the homeless from sight under the guise of having the community "help" Homeless Services "help" the homeless. The administration wants you to identify homeless people on your street who might need "help."

To me this is just a way for the administration to harass the homeless while washing its hands of responsibility for it by blaming the community. The councilmembers no doubt can't push back against such an effort -- if they don't sign on, they look like they don't care about the homeless, and if they do collaborate, they gain the support of those who think the homeless are being helped by this city-wide street sweep of humans, as well as the support of those who just want the homeless removed from sight at whatever cost.

De Blasio already removed the homeless around the 9th Street walkway through Tompkins Square Park. Now it's getting anonymous residents to do the dirty work of fingering a homeless person so the administration can get credit for cleaning up the streets as well as "helping" the homeless.

In any institution or organization, those most vulnerable get pushed around. Denigrating them is often the license for the poor treatment. The homeless are the most vulnerable and the most easily denigrated. And out of sight, out of mind.

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