IF JESUS WERE IN AMERICA TODAY

 

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The best (classic) rendition of Jesus Christ: Robert Powell as our Lord and Savior in 1977’s “Jesus of Nazareth”. Photo courtesy of pinterest.com

 

WHAT WOULD OUR LORD AND SAVIOR DO?

HOW WOULD HE REACT TO ALL THE NEGATIVE MADNESS THAT’S CURRENTLY GOING ON IN THIS COUNTRY?

 

Although I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, asking him to forgive my sins and come into my life a few years ago, I don’t regard myself as overly religious.

I have never been a pushy salesman (and I never intend to be one), getting into strangers’ faces and forcefully telling them, “You’re going to go to hell unless you accept Jesus right now!” like some folks do, which has happened to me on college campuses and elsewhere.

And I have definitely not gone around knocking on people’s doors like the Jehovah’s Witnesses are famous for doing.

In fact, what I’ve always liked to say was…

“I’ve accepted and believe that Jesus Christ is my personal Lord and Savior.”

“I also believe in religious freedom, and that it’s neither my place nor my business to tell people how to worship God, or to force others to believe what I believe.”

Having said that…

I’ve often wondered what our Lord would do and say if He visited these United States of America today, how He would react to all the negativity that’s been going on.

Here are my guesses; of course there are merely my opinions:

 

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I like this pic, young folks paying homage to our Savior. Photo courtesy of christianity.com

 

For starters, I have a very good idea about what Jesus would say to guys like Donald Trump and all of the other billionaires who earned their riches off of the backs of the poor and working class,

“Go and sell everything you have, and give the money to the poor, and you shall have treasure in Heaven.” (Matthew 19:21)

And after Trump and the rest of the billionaires walked away after giving Jesus an incredulous look that said, “I can’t do that!”, our Lord would comment:

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24)

This is proof that Jesus is the Original Socialist as His creed was, in a nutshell – besides believe in Him and that He is the Son of God who rose from the dead for our sins,

SHARE THE WEALTH AND HELP THE POOR.

Which was what Karl Marx would later advocate in the 19th century.

Speaking of the poor, Jesus would also spend much of not all of his time among the homeless and others who are so-called “down and out”, comforting them and doing whatever was necessary to ease their suffering.

I’m also convinced that He would say this to those ministers and others from the religious right, those who have displayed their animosity and extreme lack of compassion for gays, people of color, and anyone else who doesn’t think exactly like them, as well as anyone who is among the less fortunate, those who have lost their jobs and homes through no fault of their own who are basically told by these far right folks to shove it and pull themselves up by their own bootstraps when their boots have been taken away:

“I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:23)

I know there’s a lot of other stuff that our Lord would be doing if He was in this country today, but to list them all would take several hours.

Hopefully I have provided a tiny bit of comfort to those who aren’t having it so good.

 

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A quote from one of the greatest women – people, really – who ever lived. Photo courtesy of pinterest.com

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MY OFFICIAL TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY POST

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A good image of how I’ve spent much of my waking hours for nearly a decade now. Photo courtesy of litabi.com

 

LAMENTATIONS OF TWO YEARS OF HAVING THIS BLOG

I reckon it’s true…

Time really does fly by.

I know it’s a bad cliché, but it also really does seem like yesterday that I was commemorating one year of this website.

In fact, the past few weeks have been full of commemorations as far as this Hartland Chronicles site is concerned as I’ve marked my birthday, written my 100th article, and am now – as of today as my first post was on July 7th, 2014 – marking my second anniversary of having my own blog.

I suppose it’s a good accomplishment and milestone, as I’ve been writing online for the past eight and a half years on various royalty and sports sites and merely felt that it was time to do my own thing and start my own site.

I’ve voiced my opinion on many topics, ranging from Asperger’s Syndrome and the progress of “WALKING ON EGGSHELLS”, my book detailing my experiences of having that form of autism in a non-autistic world (going OK) to movie reviews (specifically the Hunger Games series),

To stating my experiences and opinions on education and the teaching profession,

To political and racial issues,

To being a Christian,

To offering final farewells to folks I admire like Robin Williams, Prince, and Muhammad Ali.

Not to mention detailing the health scare that I went through in October of 2014, a scare that changed how I did things in my life.

Some may say that what I’ve been doing is not too much different from having a journal or a diary; indeed, before I immersed myself in the ways of the internet I kept a journal, writing about my life and my day-to-day experiences and happenings, for a ten-year period – 1993 to 2003 to be precise.

I realize today that it was essentially a diary, only I had no objections to sharing what I wrote.

I like to think that my writing has evolved since that time as when I look at what I wrote in those notebooks back then, as well as the stuff I did online for sites like Hubpages and Bleacher Report, I want to completely rewrite and overhaul more or less all of them, they seem so self-indulgent and “poor me” as far as my articles on Hubpages and Triond and too “rah-rah” as far as my sports posts are concerned.

I think my writings are better now, more objective and a little less emotional – except when it’s an emotional and/or personal issue, of course.

 

As for the future…

I don’t have any major plans for Hartland Chronicles as this blog is not going anywhere; though my sports fan blog, SoCal Sports Annals (here’s the link: http://www.socalsportsannals.wordpress.com) gets much attention and a certain priority as it’s my business for all intents and purposes,

Hartland Chronicles serves a good purpose as it’s my way of expressing myself, getting my thoughts and feelings about topics and issues – personal and otherwise – out there and letting the world know that a (by American society’s standards) middle-aged African-American man with a high functioning form of Autism Spectrum Disorder named Derek Hart existed.

This site, my SoCal Sports Annals blog, and my WALKING ON EGGSHELLS book will be, for lack of a better term, the legacies that I will leave after I’m dead and cremated with my ashes scattered.

Which I hope is a long time from now.

In the meantime, I’ll go ahead and feel a sense of accomplishment over HartlandChronicles.com celebrating its two-year anniversary.

As well as look forward to its three-year birthday next July 7th.

 

 

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I don’t know what my mental and emotional state would be like if I wasn’t able to do this. Photo courtesy of proficientwriters.com

 

 

ABOUT TIME! A Few Thoughts Regarding Gay Marriage and Marriage Equality

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As someone who has been raised muticulturally and has been taught throughout his life to consider everyone as equal and deserving of equal rights, as well as deserving to be always treated fairly and with compassion…

My joy at the Supreme Court’s ruling regarding marriage equality is obvious as I reacted to the news with a big fat “YAY!” and a fist in the air.

And I am a heterosexual who considers himself a Christian who believes that Jesus is the Son of God who died for our sins.

I know full well what the Bible says about homosexuality and what marriage should be, but here’s how I feel about it all and those right-wingers who are screaming in agony over the Supreme Court giving the green light for gays and lesbians to marry and (in states such as Texas and Mississippi) refusing to issue marriage licenses:

If two men or two women want to commit themselves in holy matrimony, that’s no one’s business but theirs and God’s.

I repeat, NO ONE’S BUSINESS.

I truly feel that people who are romantically attracted to other people of their gender should be able to marry just like people who are attracted to the opposite sex, as that’s part of what America is all about: Freedom.

And even if I felt otherwise, it is not my place – at all – to judge anyone.

Which means I would keep my mouth shut and let God handle things; as evangelist Joyce Meyer would say, “Let God be God.”

As a well-known Biblical quote – in Christ’s own words, no less – states:

“Judge not, that ye not be judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thy own eye?”  – Matthew 7:1-3

It seems to me that anyone who is still doing things like denying marriage licenses to gays or on the street shouting about how they’re going to hell is doing exactly what Jesus said not to do – judging.

It also seems to me that those far right-wingers seem to think that they are the ones without sin who are entitled to cast that first stone, as Jesus said to those who asked him if they should stone that adulteress, because to me that’s precisely what they are doing – casting stones at gays.

As such, make no mistake about it…

I am exceedingly glad that the homosexual population is now able to show their love in the same way as their heterosexual counterparts.

Being that the anniversary of America’s independence is in a few days from this writing, it was appropriate and fitting that the ruling, asserting America’s creed of equal rights for all of its citizens, regardless of race, color, ethnicity, creed, gender, and in this case sexual orientation, came down when it did.

I get the feeling that for all those same-sex couples with those newly minted marriage licenses who are about to head down the aisle, it’s going to be a great 4th of July.

I, in this article and on this blog,  certainly and wholeheartedly congratulate them and wish them all the success and happiness possible.

And you know what? I’m positive my (and our) Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is likewise happy for them and wishes them all the best.

After all, God is love.

 

 

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This image is from the Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco, held just after the Supreme Court ruling giving same-sex marriages the big OK

 

 

Another Issue Regarding God, Jesus, and Christianity That I Don’t Completely Understand

 

 

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I really like this picture, the sun coming out of the clouds as well as the cross being situated against that backdrop

 

I was watching Joyce Meyer’s “Enjoying Everyday Life” television program recently, as I have done every day for the past few years, when the evangelist began to discuss something that aroused some more issues about what God wants out of us that I didn’t quite understand.

This particular program found Joyce talking about what not to do with one’s mouth; that one shouldn’t:

– Murmur

– Grumble

– Complain

– Find fault in others

– Gossip

– Judge

– Criticize

– Tell secrets

– Give your opinion when it isn’t requested or wanted

Don’t misunderstand; I completely agree that murmuring, complaining, finding faults, gossiping, judging – as in “Judge not, lest ye be judged” (Matthew 7:1) – criticizing, and betraying one’s trust are not good things to do.

But as for giving one’s opinion, which I freely admit to having a long history of doing – it’s one of the reasons why I stared this blog and my sports fan blog/site, SoCal Sports Annals (you can click on the link to check it out) – while I agree and realize that it’s not always right to constantly voice your opinion as it can look like you’re butting in and meddling in people’s business, I just couldn’t help but think…

“What about freedom of speech? Is God a totalitarian, North Korean-like dictator who doesn’t want us to express ourselves freely?”

 “Is democracy, freedom of thought, and freedom of expression a bad thing with God?”

Indeed, Isaiah 1:18 says, “Come now, let us reason together…”, which I always thought meant that God was/is willing to reason with us and let us freely voice our opinions in the spirit of the 1st Amendment.

I truly cannot and will not believe that God is anything like Kim Jong-Un, the iron-fisted ruler of North Korea who gives out the harshest punishments for even the slightest murmurs against him or his government; I want to make that crystal clear.

I fully accept that God is loving and loves me unconditionally, which is one reason why I accepted Jesus as my savior.

But it was this frowning on not giving opinions that drew me away from Him in the past as I thought that he was a totalitarian, and while I know that’s not true today, a slight misunderstanding lingers inside me.

I now believe it was the devil that put those thoughts of God as an oppressive dictator in my head before, which I have certainly rejected as I have heard many sermons, read many books, and have studied the Bible to the point where I completely see God as nothing but a loving and kind God who only wants the best for us, like a loving father.

Which, as I’ve said, is a reason why I prayed the prayer of salvation and believe I am born again.

Like other questions I have had regarding my/our Lord and Savior and Creator, I acknowledge and accept that if these questions are not ones that can be answered, so be it.

It won’t affect my faith, and I’ll still love the Lord; I pray that no one thinks otherwise when they read this.

But I must be honest – it would put my mind a bit more at ease if I could get a little more understanding about where God stands as far as freedom of speech and thought.

Does he value that? Or is it a devil thing?

That is all that I am asking.

Meanwhile, let me take this time to thank God for all his blessings and for looking after me and looking out for me. I know that I’m nothing without Him.

 

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GOD, CHRIST, & BEING A CHRISTIAN: Some Questions About Things I Don’t Understand

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For what I suppose has been the bulk of my life, there have been things I have never understood regarding God, his son Jesus Christ, and being a Christian that I have never understood – and still don’t.

At least not completely.

Which even though I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior has always hindered me somewhat in my life, trying to follow God, living a good Christian life, and in my faith in Him.

For the past few years I have watched evangelist Joyce Meyer’s “Enjoying Everyday Life” on television – as well as studying the Bible since the beginning of this year – in which she has said that one should not try to figure everything out with regards to God, his plan, and why things are the way they are, but rather to have a faith so strong that one would not need to know everything, but to simply trust God in absolutely all things.

I had heard that message before, and I couldn’t help but think this in response, a question that, though not as prominent as in the past, remains in my head:

*  If God doesn’t like us to try and figure everything out, does that mean He wants us to be stupid and ignorant?

I can’t believe that God wants us to be dumb, but sometimes it seems that way judging from what I have heard and what people have told me.

There are quite a few other things that I have always questioned as far as the Lord was concerned, going back to when I was (I guess) in my late teens and throughout my twenties and thirties.

Now being in my about-to-be late forties, these questions are still swimming in my head.

I’m not going to waste any more time; here are those questions, which if anyone had any answers, insights or speculations to them I would appreciate:

As we all know, God knew about everything that was going to happen before it happened, or before He made it happen.

So if that were the case…

*  Why did God create the Earth, if He knew all the bad things that would come to pass on that planet?

*  Why did God create people, if He knew that Satan was going to influence them to commit that original sin in that Garden of Eden?

And speaking of Satan, it’s commonly known that his original name was Lucifer, who God created to be his right-hand angel/second in command in Heaven.

So if God knew that Lucifer was going to stage a massive rebellion against God, take a third of the angels in Heaven with him and become master of all that’s evil and woeful in Hell…

*  Why did God create Lucifer in the first place?

*  And why didn’t God just blast him and his followers, wipe them out of existence with one big stroke, when they staged their big rebellion?

I am convinced that if God had done that, it would saved the Earth and all of His creations, especially people, so much turmoil, suffering, and just plain bad times over thousands of years.

There certainly would have been no snake to tempt Eve with that apple in that Tree of Good and Evil as was described in the beginning of the Book of Genesis, and the Earth would have a perfect paradise, an extension of Heaven, today.

We would even be walking around naked like Eve and her man Adam.

I hope folks don’t misunderstand – it’s not my intention to commit any blasphemy by asking these questions, and I dearly hope that no one thinks that I am, or anything else negative.

I want to make clear that I accept the Lord as my savior. I want to get close to him, or closer than I am, but these are questions that have, well…

I won’t say that I have been tortured by them, but they have been in my mind for some time.

I also fully understand that according to God, from what I’ve heard there are some things that, as a Christian, one shouldn’t try to understand. If these questions are among them, so be it. I won’t abandon my faith in the Lord.

I know that He loves me, wants good things for me, and has a great plan for my life, which I’ll always be most grateful for.

But if anyone has any answers to these questions I have asked here, even in speculation, that would be fine, too.

 

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Somebody’s rendition of what Heaven looks like…

 

 

A Testimony of Sorts: Owning Up To My Sins

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A Litany of My Sins, Flaws, and Shortcomings; Being Guilty of Such

 

It’s been a while since I last posted in this blog, so I thought I’d write about something that deep down, I know I should write.

About two or three years ago, thanks to evangelist Joyce Meyer and her TV show “Enjoying Everyday Life”, which I started watching because my brother had it on often and I found myself watching it because of her plain-spoken, down home, charismatic style in spreading the Gospel, I recited the prayer of salvation when she asked her audience to stand up if they wanted to receive Christ and get saved.

Which according to the Word means that like those thousands of people on her show, I am saved as I firmly believe that Jesus is my Lord and Savior who died on the cross for me and my sins.

While it’s not my intention to give my official testimony here, over the time that I’ve been watching Joyce on TV, reading her devotionals on her website every day, and have partaken in Bible study when I can – I took her “30-for-30” challenge, studying the Book of Proverbs and much of the Psalms 30 minutes a day for 30 days, in January – I’ve felt closer to God and, though I have had my weak moments, believe that God loves me and have displayed a better attitude in my life (though I have  some ways to go as like Joyce says, “you’re not where you need to be but thank God you’re not where you used to be!”).

I’ve also, through my Bible studies, realized once and for all my shortcomings and the sins and flaws that have plagued me throughout my life, which I also realize has little to do with having the high functioning form of autism affecting social interaction known as Asperger’s Syndrome as people who don’t have that disorder are also guilty of these flaws and sins and which although it is a legitimate disability and reason I have used as a crutch too many times for my behavior.

According to the Gospel, without going into too many details here’s what I’m guilty of:

1. Pride

2. Rejecting/not accepting criticism – Which is the root for my less than stellar employment history, particularly the past six years of working for other people.

3. Selfishness/demanding my own way – Boy, was I guilty of this for a long time, especially in my youth and up to (I dare say) my thirties.

4. Not being open to new ideas – Which is an Asperger’s trait, digging in to whatever is comfortable for me and not being flexible, but is not an excuse.

5. Not enduring adversity

6. Rejoicing when my enemy is in trouble – One “enemy” from my youth in particular, who I won’t name; man did I feel a sense of vindication and “revenge” when I heard what had happened to this person.

7. Holding my tongue – As many times I’ve been told to shut up over the years due to me saying inappropriate things; another part of Asperger’s, but still…

8.  Not using good judgement – Another source of my difficult times in the workforce.

9.  Gluttony –The fact that I have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, am prone to high blood sugar, and have been working hard to correct that through medication and exercise for the past several months is the price I’m still paying for this.

10. Being a “skilled rebel”

11. Trusting only myself – And not God, which I freely admit I’m still working on.

As is the case with the other things on this list, which is a pretty long one as you can see.

When I saw and realized all these shortcomings,  I wasted no time in making like a defendant pleading guilty to his crimes in court and telling God how sorry I was for all of these shortcomings of mine.

I also didn’t waste any time in begging God to forgive me, I felt so bad about it all.

Though I know I’ve been forgiven, I still feel pangs of guilt for all the times I was a jerk to people and for all the sins and flaws I’ve listed above.

I’m sure another root of this is having a feeling of “what’s the use” when I read and heard as a kid one of Jesus’ commandments during his Sermon on the Mount:

“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”   Matthew 5:48

Being a youngster at the time, I obviously thought that meant never, ever making any mistakes whatsoever, that any little misstep meant a one-way ticket straight to hell; I was convinced, for a long time, that that’s what being a Christian meant.

Thankfully Joyce Meyer, through her show, showed otherwise, clearing things up for me when she stated that “being perfect”, according to Jesus, doesn’t mean never making mistakes, because we all make them, but rather striving to be the best person and Christian you can be.

In other words, it was okay to make mistakes, as God will forgive if you ask Him. Which I have and continue to do as I have made plenty of mistakes and showed plenty of my flaws in recent times, and as much as I don’t want to will probably continue to do.

The fact that God, as Joyce has also said (though I’m sure not in these exact words), “knows every mistake you’re going to make, and loves you and will forgive you anyway,” has helped my mentality, which of course I’m thankful for.

Not that I’m a finished product in Christ, not by the longest of shots; I know full well that I have so far to go, especially in the area of trust and perseverance, and the missteps that I still make.

And I still have some faith and gospel-type questions that I prefer to not get into here.

But I’m glad that I’m not where I was.

And I’m also glad that I have a better understanding of God, how he loves me and, according to the Word:

“…will never leave (me) nor forsake (me)”  Deuteronomy 31:8

I’m positive that piece of scripture has helped me to carry on.

 

 

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The REAL Reason Why You Should Never Vote For Those Advocating Cuts For The Poor

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THIS SHOULD SERVE AS A MESSAGE TO THOSE CONSERVATIVES WHO SCREAM TO THE POOR, “PULL YOURSELVES UP BY YOUR OWN BOOTSTRAPS!”, WHEN SUCH POOR HAVE NEITHER BOOTS NOR STRAPS

 

Ever since the days of Ronald Reagan the conservatives in this country, particularly the far right – which has ruled the Republican Party for roughly eight decades, dating back to Hebert Hoover and the Great Depression – have called for and enacted policies that have served to do nothing but devastate the poor and less fortunate.

These devastations have come in the form of tax breaks for the super rich and cuts in safety net programs, which has increased joblessness and homelessness.

I have personally noticed this in the town I grew up in, Santa Monica, CA, in the 1980s when not too long after Reagan was inaugurated President in 1981, Palisades Park, an iconic stretch of grass which overlooks the Pacific Ocean and offers spectacular views of Malibu to the north and the Palos Verdes Peninsula to the south on a clear day, became inundated with the displaced as Palisades Park became a tent and sleeping bag city.

I also noticed increasing numbers of panhandlers hanging around various blocks.

Far right conservatives will tell you that those who are in that situation are themselves at fault for making bad decisions are not taking personal responsibility.

Or if they became poor and/or homeless through no fault of their own – such as being laid off from their jobs – those “Far Rights” would usually say that they are not working hard enough to rectify their situation; why should those who have the means subsidize those who don’t through tax raises, which in the Far Rights’ eyes serve as nothing but a free, welfare handout which encourages laziness?

I’ll tell you why…

BECAUSE THE BIBLE, WHICH THESE FAR RIGHTS HOLD SO DEAR AND REFER TO EVERY CHANCE THEY GET, SAYS SO.

Check out what Jesus said to the rich man who asked him what should he do to have eternal life:

“Go and sell everything you have, and give the money to the poor; and you shall have treasure in Heaven; and then come, follow me…It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to ever the Kingdom of God.”   – Matthew 19:21, 24

And in Acts, here’s how the Apostles set up the first church after Jesus’ ascension:

“All who believed were together and had all things in common; and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need.”  – Acts 2:44-45

Sounds a lot more like Karl Marx’ philosophies than anything that John Boehner, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Sarah Palin or Rush Limbaugh would advocate.

In fact, when you go by these quotes from Matthew and the Acts, you can make a convincing argument that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, was the world’s first Socialist.

While studying the Bible, which I have doing quite a bit of lately, I came upon some quotes from the Book of Proverbs that overwhelmingly seals the argument of how to treat the poor and what God thinks of those with the means who don’t – or directly hurt them due to budget cuts or changes in policy, i.e., Far Right Republicans…

“Anyone who oppresses the poor is insulting God who made them. To help the poor is to honor God.”   – Proverbs 14:31

“Mocking the poor (which I’ve seen a lot of people do online and elsewhere in the form of taunts such as “Get a Job!” and other things)  is mocking God who made them. He will punish those who rejoice at other’s misfortunes”  – Proverbs 17:5

“When you help the poor you are lending to the Lord – and he pays wonderful interest on your loan!”  – Proverbs 19:17

“He who shuts his ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in his own time of need.”  – Proverbs 21:13

“Giving preferred treatment to rich people (i.e., tax cuts, tax loopholes and tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, or the “1%”) is a clear case of selling one’s soul for a piece of land.”  – Proverbs 28:21

Sure, there are plenty of folks who would state another quote from Jesus that appears in the books of Matthew, Mark and John, “The poor you will always have with you…”   which in their interpretation means that the government is wasting their time helping the less fortunate because poverty will never be completely eradicated, and those less fortunate are better off helping themselves because that’s what America is all about – independence and self-reliance.

To those Far Rights who point that out, I say, “Does the government have to contribute to the plight of the poor, make things harder by taking away their safety nets, as you seem to want to do?”

In my book, those who advocate budget cuts and policy changes that will hurt the less fortunate can be described in two words:

Heartless.

and Mean.

Nowadays I often wonder what will Far Rights – those in and out of government – people say when they die and God tells them that they have to answer for their beliefs and practices concerning all of this, God saying,

“You were in favor of cuts and policies that did nothing but make my children suffer. What do you have to say for yourself?”

One thing is for certain at the end of the day…

Anyone who takes a position of being in favor of policies that help the poor, the homeless, and otherwise less fortunate should never, EVER vote for anyone in the Republican Party.

The reason? Because based on what too many of them have said and advocated, it is crystal clear that they do not care about those who are “down on their luck”; at least to the point where they are willing to leave programs that help such – Medicare, Social Security, Welfare – alone.

Those “Hoovervilles” that were all over the landscape in the 1930s are certainly evidence of that, as well as the many domestic cuts that Reagan enacted in the 80s; the increase in homeless during that time was a direct effect of that.

I’ve spoken enough about this subject, as I don’t want to get myself riled up over the thoughts of these policy makers in the now-Republican-majority Congress that want to screw the less fortunate over by the changes they want to make.

God Bless…

 

 

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If those right wingers in Congress get their way, we’ll see a lot more of this