I had wanted to post my usual upbeat Valentines Day message this morning, but my thoughts were elsewhere. Last night I watched a program that shocked me. It was a BBC Panorama special on the homeless in America. I had not previously known that there are a million plus people,couples, and families, who over the last 2 or 3 years have lost their homes, possessions, friends, and neighbors.
Almost 2 years ago my family and I enjoyed a brief stop over in Las Vegas. We stayed at a 5 star hotel on the ‘strip’ which was an amazing experience we will never forget. We had no idea that in a labrinth of tunnels beneath the city, live hundreds of people. The Panorama program interviewed a couple who had previously enjoyed a good standard of living. From having a home, jobs, and lifestyle. They were now down to just surviving in a dark damp tunnel. What surprised me was they showed no bitterness in the situation they now found themselves in, just a determination to stay together.
Across America ‘tent cities’ are springing up in secluded forest areas, where people survive with the few possessions they have. Many in need of some form of medical care which they can’t afford to pay for, so they go without essential treatment. From the attitude of various officials and politicians on the program, they are all in denial. The homeless, (according to them) where people are also short of food is not a big problem in America. It’s only a temporary situation and on a very small scale.
Many of these displaced people are skilled workers who lost their jobs then their homes, who now survive on handouts from sympathetic individuals and organizations. All this in the most advanced, prosperous nation on earth. What has happened to the American dream?
So on this Valentines Day when millions of couples express their love for each other, my thoughts are with that couple in a damp tunnel under the bright lights and razzle dazzle of las Vegas. They are down and out, but not beaten. They are still together looking out for each other, in hope of better times to come. It’s all they have.
What has happened to the American dream, please share your thoughts.