I was very offended by Mayor Fiorentini’s quote regarding “the bad elements” in GAR Park. I have volunteered at all of the programs for the homeless in the city over the years. How dare he! Talk with some of these “bad elements” and you’ll find some real people. I’ve lived in Riverside my whole life and as the saying goes, people with glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
“Vagrant” and “homeless” mean pretty much the same thing, at least in the public’s mind. Some homeless people do have jobs, and some do not beg. But the real problem is the connotations, or rather, truly, the reality rather than the name we call them. “Homeless person” is just a euphemism for “vagrant,” but pretty soon homeless will sound harsh and unkind to us, too. As George Orwell pointed out, I believe, there’s a euphemism cycle: new, seemingly kinder terms are created to hide harsh realities, like the fact that homeless people annoy us by hanging out in public places like GAR Park in Haverhill. That they beg. Many of them are scary. They have drug and alcohol problems and mental illnesses. Many of them steal and smell bad. We change the name because doing so makes us feel better, as if we’re helping them by calling them something that seems kinder, but we call them that because we can’t or won’t change the reality that they represent.
Scandal a week
Does President Obama think he is fooling Americans by timing the Sgt. Bergdahl trade to distract us from the VA scandal? He has made it habit to manufacture crises to distract people from his scandals. His administration seems to have a scandal almost every week. To say he is weak and incompetent is an understatement. Even his fellow Democrats are seeing that. At least the Pentagon is not buying the president’s lies and is thinking about court-martialing Bergdahl.