Commentary

Editorial: The Faces of Scrooges

One could argue that the greatest testament to the failure of our society in 2022 is the existence of the massive numbers of homeless people who live out of flimsy tents or worse on the streets of our major cities. Indeed, it is a moral eyesore that too few people are concerned about. As long as one can step over the homeless to get where they need to go, then why make a big deal out of it?

The tragedy of his homeless epidemic in America, as well as the migrant epidemic, is that it demonstrates so much unhappiness. As we enter the holiday season, and families gather to celebrate Thanksgiving, it is becoming more and more evident that the chasm between the haves and have-nots is being breached by families, themselves, who are made up of members that have fallen away in one way or another, and are living on the streets, actually or at least metaphorically.

Nobody wants to ask the serious questions about how many of our families gathering for the holidays live with the knowledge that one or more of their number are quite unhappy in their lives, have either fallen into homelessness or into addictions that may, or maybe already have, claimed lives. What we may feel the least likely to acknowledge is that these people have not only fallen on hard times, but that they are profoundly alienated and unhappy. To one degree or another, they have been abandoned, by society or by their own families, such that they are alone, facing their fates alone and apart from the kind of warmth and compassion that we all value especially during the holiday season.

It is true that the only ones who are likely to step in and show warmth and compassion for such individuals are those who are, or have been, in similar situations, and it is truly a great credit to organizations like Falls Church’s own Homestretch that have been willing to look this issue straight in the eye and to try to address it in a meaningful way.

It is doubly distressing that, in this time of year especially, that folks recoil in fear and anger at the efforts of well-meaning officials to find a way to draw such persons back into the human fold, to empower them with the resources and the personal engagement that can open up for them a new and better tomorrow. It is a distinctively unattractive posture of resistance to policies that will hopefully revive the hope and will of underdogs in our society on overtly selfish grounds. People turn out in droves at public meetings if they think their franchise might be violated even in the slightest by a new government policy designed to open up opportunities for some of our more disadvantaged.

Persons should recognize that the advancement of such behaviors is not only wrong, but profoundly unattractive and causes wrinkles and ugly markings on the faces of such scrooges.