We Are The Faceless

A growing, faceless crowd continues to be swept under the illuminated rug of most cities.

On any given night an estimated 80,000 people are homeless in L.A., and before you check the figures, think about what you're trying to dismiss through your action to dispute. What difference does it make if it's 80,000, 2 million or 15? Americans are homeless and I'm at fault for not doing more.

And so are you.

Personal triumph, self-deceptive apathy, and a greed-centered society have citizenry more emotive about the Kardashians than with real people like Joe; a once-proud husband, teacher and LA-resident who now stands in soup lines, and spends most evenings huddled under freeway ramps.

Are we that heartless, or are we just too busy? While efforts go to making our lives productive, perhaps even volunteering a few hours of our month in helping the weary and ever-increasing homeless population; we don't do enough. Our philosophies and tactics of wealth enhancement have us looking long-term at unforeseen challenges - and even worse - our own retirement, while the injustices of our time are tragic, and on our doorstep. A disregard toward helping others has been created out of our need to milk efforts for higher profits, sometimes even in the name of charity, but what we're missing is the point that these pursuits are wasteful and short-sighted.

The other day I talked to Joe, under the Sunset Blvd. bridge on Silver Lake. He had been a teacher, had gone to college and done work toward his master's degree. But when collection agencies for hospital bills came calling after his wife died, following a long battle with cancer, and he'd lost his job due to cuts within a school district that graduates barely more than 40 percent of its students, he was forced to live on the street.

Joe, like so many other faceless Angelenos and Americans, begs while we brush past, too busy and too focused on the future to realize the present from which we're running. Cities of people are starving in a country still celebrating record corporate profits, while boasting of great humanitarian efforts and balanced opportunities. If that doesn't bother you or have you scratching your head with consideration, then your focus and motivation is probably wrong.

For those who are already helping our brothers and sisters; great! Do more. For those of you who don't or are unwilling: what is wrong with you? There are many ways to help, even if it means simply stopping on a street corner to talk to someone like Joe - putting a face on the present-day faceless and giving you an induced-perspective of what really matters.


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