Street kids without guns

They are all our children, even those who go out and shoot half a dozen people. And however much hate radio influences them, the antidote is charity. The street kids are a byproduct of our crazy way of life. That's why they bother us so.

We might have the best country and government in the world, but it is still off course. We are a culture of the in and out, ugly and beautiful, rich and poor. We partake in the communal crime of not taking proper care for the mentally ill. We allow an econonomy that creates inescapable extreme poverty for most.

Street people linger like ghosts at our banquet reminding us of what we are: the richest society in history where the rich have more of the money than they did a hundred years ago. We should support the markets that allow beggars on the fringe of their parking lots. We need to see what we create.

Everything in our culture tells us that our body is not right, we are not right. Women need to look and dress like their daughters. Men have no role models. Everything strives to keep our caring and sharing from happening, as though consuming really is the way to wholeness.

Our need for a spiritual truth, for integrity and virtue, as well as the struggle for genuine self-knowledge are as hard to find as ever. But, every act of charity is a revolutionary act against our obsession with lifestyle. Every act of kindness is a way of saying, "I am not a product of my times; I am a creator of better times."

Random shooting of our best and brightest is no longer the price we are willing to pay for being on top. If Princess Di or Bono or whomever made caring for the poor cool, fine. Whatever it takes. This is a trend that must stay alive if the human race is to stay alive. It's not complicated.

If big corporations pretend to be socially responsible in advertising while stealing water and resources from the most poor, at least they know they have to lie and will someday take responsibility — if we keep journalism alive. We are in a new time of change, one individual at a time, developing a new moral imagination.

If religion and government were going to make a just world it would have happened by now. Change comes one person at a time. That's what the great religious masters said. Apocalypse is an opportunity. Our street people are the government's responsibility. We are our government.

Do-gooding is the trend and the best step our country has taken since its inception. It doesn't matter why people beg; they are begging. And if you think living outside is for cowards, try it. It's about taking care of those in need, because those who have everything are most in need.

Leah EV Ireland

Ashland

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