I am a van driver for a homeless shelter, for two weeks, once a quarter for the church where my wife worked. I transport homeless families who are trying to get back on their feet. I drive them to the church for dinner and beds to sleep in at night and drive them back to their day center where they work on job skills and seek employment and housing.

They are interesting to talk to and cover a fascinating range of backgrounds, experiences, and attitudes. Some are grateful for the hand up and are working hard to take advantage of the opportunity. Some are looking for a niche so they can coast with minimal effort. The “victims” are angry at those who are successfully coping, and even angry at those who are helping.

Most of the “families” consist of a woman with children who have been abandoned by the father(s) of the children. One was a Grandma with her grandchildren who had been abandoned by their drug addicted parents. The real “victims” are always the children.

This summer the director of the Summer Bible School asked me to drive the van and transport eleven children from a Spanish speaking neighborhood to and from the church for Bible School. It was about a thirty minute trip to their community church and back. They ranged from elementary school age to middle school age. The boys were a bit rowdy but respectful and the girls were too busy talking to each other to notice me.

The final night was parents night and included a meal, so most of the kids rode home with their parents. I had four passengers, three were siblings, the oldest was a boy about ten years old. They were telling me about their schools, their sports, and what they liked to do for fun. They found it amusing to help me improve my “muy poquito” Spanish speaking skills.

As we were nearing their church, the oldest boy asked me “who are you going to vote for?” I said I wasn’t happy with either either candidate. He said “do you like Donald Trump?” I said “not very much.” He said emphatically “we don’t like him either, we’re Mexicans.” I laughed out loud and they all did too. Then I choked and almost had to pull over to regain control of my emotions. It almost broke my heart that these little kids are worried that Donald Trump is going to send their parents and them and their friends to Mexico.

When Trump started campaigning I liked what I was hearing. He was making strong statements about solving issues I care about. But, it didn’t take long to realize he was just mouthing what he thought Conservatives want to hear. He has no business even talking about “sending people back to Mexico” before he has gained control of our borders. The way he talks about securing our border with Mexico leaves me thinking he is an ignorant bully, a buffoon. If he was telling me he was going to put the military in charge of immediately securing our border to stop all illegal entry into the US, I would cheer. If he was telling me he would ask the US Customs and Border Protection agency to work with the military and determine where fences would be effective I would cheer. If he was telling me he was asking the military to set up electronic surveillance where fences would be ineffective I would cheer. If he said that by the time the border was secure he would have a plan ferret out criminals and deport them, and a plan to repatriate those who didn’t want to stay, and a plan to assimilate those who did, I would cheer and say “Donald I like how you set priorities and come up with sensible solutions.” But this isn’t the case, this is just one of many issues that his rhetoric about what “HE” is going to do makes me sick. And that doesn’t mean that I prefer Hillary over him because I don’t. I would like to see her tried for High Treason and if found guilty, sentenced to death or to life in prison without parole.

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  1. Kenny Sono

    Great story Mug. I agree with all your conclusions. Maybe with just another month or two, somebody will get to Trump and make sure he starts acting and speaking like an adult; it could happen. Of course, it’s starting to look more like all of us will begin to realize the lifestyle of those Mexicans…….
    Unsure of the government / unsure of our economy / unsure of who the real leaders are or might be / unsure of everything perhaps, including our next meal.
    Right now, while typing this, I’m also watching “Life Below Zero” on TV. It’s all about living in Alaska. You just never know where life may take you.
    In some ways the people completely unsure of their futures are better off / they’re not going to need to be devastated by any great loss(es) or any huge resentment about the way things USED TO BE.
    When you’re talking to those homeless people / especially the kids / you might want to see how they are “self reliant” and encourage that. I suspect all of us die alone. Relying on yourself and on God is a good idea in my book. Sure a family should stick together and take care of each other. However, even within a family, people need to understand the importance of being in charge of one’s own life. If Donald Trump had done more of that, he probably would understand how incredibly frustrating it is for most of us to hear him act like this is all a big GAME. Hillary thinks it IS a game, but it seems Trump just acts like it is. At least that’s something…….

    1. MUG Post author

      Most of the women are amazing and grateful for a second chance and a leg up. The kids are mostly strong and resilient. The few men who are in the program are trying to make it work, but often are resentful. The great thing is that the Churches are involved and provide showers, laundry, shopping, meals and beds in cubicles partitioned off with privacy screens. The public money goes for training, public transportation to and from job interviews and to look for housing, and day care and school needs for the kids, and medical needs.

      This program is an offshoot of one started in the 70’s. Originally families who had been homeless, living in shelters and in the system a while, were screened and those who were responsive were being given a chance to get out and back on their feet. Through the Obama tenure, the program has become overwhelmed with more and more families becoming newly homeless. The idea is to help them regain their independence before they give up and settle for being “system riders” in the entitlement system.