The Tent Dwellers

I’ve known about the proliferation of tent cities since the middle of last year, during the time I was trying to solve my own problems with money and shelter. I wondered where the people who had lost their homes were going. Relatives? Small apartments?

I figured that it was because of the election that the mainstream media wasn’t spending any time focusing on these Americans, but going around YouTube today, I was shown the persistence of progressive organizations like StPete4Peace and FreeTheFood, local TV news like KCRA, Los Angeles, and the foreign media, including Al Jazeera, France’s 24 English and the BBC that quietly logged in stories. Late last month, from what I heard, Oprah and her erstwhile special correspondent, Lisa Ling, flipped America out with the stories of the new poor—the former middle-class—forced to live everywhere but inside a house or an apartment. That apparently did it, because NBC’s Brian Williams had a report tonight on a little tent city that has sprung up near Sacramento, probably including some of the tent dwellers that were evicted from another in 2007. It now has 2,000 inhabitants, and it is growing daily.

One would think that this is the first tent city ever in California, but there is a big one in Los Angeles, and in another epicenter of the subprime loan mess, Florida, St. Petersburg police came and sliced up tents with box cutters to disperse the inhabitants.

Of course, during the Bonus March in 1932, the Army under Douglas MacArthur burned out the Anacostia shanty town that had barely housed the veterans and their families. Many other ‘Hoovervilles’ met that fate here and there. The Hoovervilles also housed the New Poor of the time: Okies, veterans, people who had lost their homes, businesses and jobs before and after the Crash.

Even Canada has had tent cities in places like Victoria, British Columbia and Edmonton, Alberta, with the inhabitants being forced to leave.

Our president had better get a clue: these people have been reduced to becoming the New Poor; a decade ago—nay, two years ago, they were working, trying to pay their mortgages and rents and car payments. The word, ‘poor,’ became almost a dirty word during the election, as the word, ‘middle-class,’ superseded it. Even buried it. As if the poor had had enough goodies for the past seventy years. For the first time in as many years, these people may not have been able to vote in the last election, but what is going to happen to them as they are striving to get back on their feet? There is only so many times that the tent dwellers are going to be forced to ‘move along.’

~ by blksista on March 9, 2009.

One Response to “The Tent Dwellers”

  1. I agree with much you have said, but feel the President’s Stimulus package must be enhanced and increased:


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: