Glenn K. Beaton is a writer and columnist living in Colorado. He has been a contributor to The Wall Street Journal, RealClearPolitics, Powerline, Instapundit, American Thinker, Fox News and numerous other print, radio and television outlets.
Denver has its share of vagrants. The rule is evidently that you can illegally camp on the sidewalk and poop in the gutter until a lot of people complain. Once dozens or hundreds of people complain – they don’t publish what the requisite number is – the city will tell the vagrants they have two weeks to shuffle down the road to trash some other site.
What the vagrants then do, naturally, is leave for a few days and then come back to the same place again, where they stay again until enough people complain again and they get the two weeks’ notice again and then they leave for a few days again. I’d say it’s a case of rinse and repeat, except these feral humans have not seen a rinse in months.
The vagrants are offered shelter in several vagrant shelters, but typically refuse to go there unless it gets very cold, which in Denver it fortunately sometimes does.
The city council sees this as a problem, but not in the way you would assume. The problem they see is not that there are too many vagrants panhandling and pooping up the downtown. It’s that there are too few.
About ten years ago, in a piece written for Breitbart, Thaddeus McCotter recounted the tale of a man trying to sell his ’67 Plymouth Barracuda. Having no luck, he finally left it on the street with the key in the ignition and a big sign announcing “Free!” The next morning the ‘Cuda was still there, with a message scratched into it with the key, “Don’t nobody want this shit.”
McCotter followed with the point that politics divorced from popular culture sells about as well as this hapless vehicle; further, that Republican politics is Exhibit A. Make that “Model A.”
Of course, what neither Andrew Breitbart nor McCotter — with their mantra that politics is downstream from culture — could have fully foreseen is the degree to which popular culture would become tainted by unpopular culture which few people wish to be “downstream” from, any more than from raw sewage.
I’m not convinced that wealth disparity is a problem. I do firmly believe, mind you, that the world is rich enough now that no one should starve or freeze to death, at least not involuntarily, and that the injured or diseased should be given medical treatment.
In America, we’ve achieved that, and more. Poor people in America not only have plenty to eat (as is evident from their physiques) but also have automobiles, air conditioning, color cable television, smart phones, and free tuition.
The wealth disparity complaint is not about starvation or freezing. It’s the complaint that some people have far more luxuries than others. Some have fancier cars or more of them. Some have more frequent European vacations. Some have televisions in the bathroom. Some fly First Class on their own dime. Some drink not just wine – everyone drinks wine now – but the expensive kind.
Some of these people indisputably have more luxuries than they need. But so do the poor people, just not as many.