Thursday, February 18, 2010

Politicians / Religious Poobahs / Safe Ground breakfast in the Grand Hall

This morning there was a breakfast, sponsored by the Interfaith Service Bureau, in the Grand Hall, that brought together slightly-raggedy homeless people and well-dressed politicians and religious leaders and assorted other mucky-mucks.

With Libby Fernandez prancing around, acting like the Grand Poobah, and a table near the entrance for SafeGround to advertise their supposed yummy goodness, it was difficult not to experience the event as more of a donations grab by the Leftist wing of the homeless-aid industry than any kind of wisdom exchange ― which is what it all, sort of, build itself up to be.

A tasty meal, certainly there was, with scrambled eggs and potatoes and muffins and bagels and coffee. Among those serving us, buffet style, where pleasant police-men and -women in full regalia.

At big round tables with white cloths and fancy water glasses the grandly housed and we, the homeless rabble, rubbed elbows. To the left of me at my table was a housed lady in red with whom I got into a discussion later that turned a bit bitter before calming down and us making nice.

There were three primary speakers who for the most part spoke too slow and said nothing that added up to much. [Though I must confess that, point in fact, I heard little of the third speaker's words, what with all my chewing and conversing during that period with the Lady in Red.]

State Senator Darrell Steinberg spoke first and was somehow caught up in discussing the noble homeless-help activities of his daughter when she was a preteen. The connect between the homeless and lepers/outcasts was made which was not comforting nor high-minded as neither was the idea (that Steinberg put out there) that it is somehow swell to think, when seeing a homeless person, "there but for the grace of God, go I." Yeah, well, Screw you, Darrell Steinberg.

Mr. Steinberg was followed on the podium by Pastor Sorenson from St. John's Lutheran Church. Both Sorenson and Steinberg spoke exclusively to the well-dressed about legislation and church leading and their own great good Pharisee-like ego-wonderfulness to the applause of all, including that of us homeless there, excluding me.

As this blogpost may tell you by now, I was doing a lot of grumbling while enjoying my eggs and bagel. My homeless brethren, meantime, were polite and respectful and eating hardily.

The Lady in Red accosted me for my rude grumblings and occasional boistrous booing. I'm tired of complaining and grumbling, like that that you're doing, she told me. We're engaged in efforts to get things done, to actually address homelessness. To push forward.

I responded, nobly, as I'm apt to, about the way-forward-defeating problems that there are and the crassness and corruption and truthiness and Left-wing nuttiness, but to not much good effect.

As our conversation ground onward, we came to see we were in agreement on a lot. Before the Lady in Red left, after first pulling a french fry (from a McDonald's meal, long ago) out of her red fancy-jacket pocket, things were respectful and nice, again.

A little later, I caught the attention of Dean Brian Baker of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral and he sat with me where the Lady in Red had been and we talked for an extended period. He telling me what his intentions are in motivating his congregants to do good works; me telling him how much more screwed up and different things are than the public is led to think out in Homeless World [from my knowledge base and experience] and how frustrated that makes me and some others.

It may be, from the dean's and my discussion, a means to communicate the location of emergency shelter possibilies for us homeless will emerge.  Nowadays, unlike winters past, there is no set "overflow" shelter and times when Trinity Episcopal or the Delany Center or a Lutheran church provide a floor for people to sleep on does not "get out there," letting the most deprived and most unprepared know of a night's safe haven from cold or wetness.

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