KITV.com is my internet home page back here in Rincon, Georgia. In the past few months there have been many news articles about the “sweeps” forcing the homeless to pack up and move on. The problem is that they live on an island… where are they to move to? Into the water? It strikes me there’s a public attitude of “not in my neighborhood” from the rest of the public regarding their homeless sisters and brothers. In the Islands one finds many denominations of Christianity. Can people really consider themselves Christian and not care about the welfare of others? Especially when they annoy us! What attitude could be more un-Christian or un-Hawaiian?!
How we view someone affects what we see about them. Through many bad choices the Hawaiian homeless live as they do and have become an annoyance to the general public. Because we think of them as being not of our ʻOhana we only see them as an annoyance and do not see that they are actually dying in plain sight, out in the open in those tents. For all of the homeless-sweeps that have been repeatedly made in Hawaiʻi, the tents are a symptom of the problem and not the actual problem itself. The actual problem is the human heart that has lost hope, that feels the scorn of the public, that has bought into the public’s view of them as just more trash on the sidewalk to be swept away and disposed of.
I realize that some of the homeless are the worst possible advertisements for themselves with anti-social and irresponsible behavior. And yet, aren’t there families in Hawaiʻi with difficult children? Do children stop being members of their ʻOhana when they become defiant and unrecognizable? Yes, the tents are a pain and a messy eyesore and danger for pedestrians… but would the Ancestors have simply dismissed the occupants of the tents? What’s wrong with the current picture? Have the Hawaiian people bought-into a Mainland view of the homeless as being “not us”, as being those for whom love and kuleana no longer deserve to flow?