Driving. In Toronto in the middle of winter. At the bottom of Rosedale Valley Road. A guy, mid twenties with a cardboard sign around his neck. “Need money for food..” The light is red so I can stop without having people honk and climb up my ass. I’ve tried it that way and it’s ugly. Anyway I give the guy some change. The light changes. I pull away. Look back in the mirror…and the woman in the fancy car behind me is now giving him something. And the driver behind her has his arm out with what looks like actual paper money. Maybe they did it every day, but I doubt it. I think what happened was a push to consciousness. A brief awakening. I give money to people on the street or at traffic stops a lot. It’s my pathetically small way of helping. And of course it makes me feel good. But this day, this chain reaction, was special. It felt like I’d actually accomplished something. The rest of the day was good. I mean relatively.
Some say that people can get used to anything. They can accommodate things. I think people in poverty are actually only getting used to the world being the way it is. A world where they often just have no choice except to be poor.
A lot of people used to live in the bushes at the bottom of Rosedale Rd. In tents. Boxes. Whatever. The police drove them out a few years ago. It’s preferred public policy to have them in over crowded shelters or sleeping on subway grates I guess. I think they were much better off in the bushes. One guy told me he was amongst friends there.
The word poverty didn’t appear once on the Conservative website during the last election. If they ever decide to become a Party that cares or even seems to care about humanity, they could start there. Just insert the word. It doesn’t even need context. Just the word itself might be enough. “Look. One of those people actually had that word in his head. Then typed it. Their long road to awareness has begun!”
We will not survive long if we don’t eradicate poverty. Make sure no child in this country anywhere is going to bed hungry. Make sure the most vulnerable are taken care of. It won’t be ISIS that destroys us. We’ll rot from the inside. The callous indifference we have for people who need our help will fester, grow and eat away at our souls. It will make us cold robotic creatures who have no purpose in life other than to inhale and exhale for a certain amount of time .. Then die. And so what? I mean really. So fucking what?