Glenn K. Beaton is a writer and columnist living near Aspen. He has been a contributor to The Wall Street Journal, RealClearPolitics, Powerline, Instapundit, American Thinker and numerous other print, radio and television outlets.
Once-beautiful Denver succumbed to vagrant enablement a few years ago. It was a pathetic attempt not to be outdone by Seattle and Portland – which have long sought not to be outdone by San Francisco. To be a great city, the thinking apparently goes, you have to be a filthy one.
And so filthy vagrants overran downtown Denver and hip “LoDo” where they now camp on the sidewalks, poop in the gutters, shoot-up in the streets and assault passersby.
The city is finally sweeping them, a little, in anticipation of its hosting of the baseball All-Star Game next month. Aware that the town will be on national TV, so far this year Denver has conducted as many vagrant camp sweeps as all of last year. The tent city is finally gone from the downtown jewel across from the state capitol building, Civic Center Park. The chain link fencing surrounding the capitol itself has finally been taken down, and vagrants are prohibited from camping there.
You know the place. It’s where the house pictured above just sold for $72 million, and houses routinely go for $3-5,000/sq ft. Where insiders such as newspaper reporters and city council members get slope-side multimillion dollar homes for dimes on the dollars under the taxpayer-subsidized housing program.
The fed money this time is for Aspen’s vagrants. Er, I mean “homeless.” Er, I mean “persons experiencing homelessness.” Whom, we’re told, are camping on the sidewalks and pooping in the gutters because they’re afflicted with something called “shelter-resistance.”
Pity the left’s Sisyphean task in the dictionary of euphemisms. Once they find and roll up the hill a suitable euphemism for “vagrant,” such as “homeless,” the euphemism rolls back down the hill because it becomes associated with people who behave like vagrants.
I’m as frustrated as you about vagrants and the local government lefties who enable them. These filthy feral humans camp on the sidewalks, poop in the gutters, accost respectable citizens and beg for handouts.
And the vagrants are even worse.
Several questions must be asked. First, no one seriously contends that people can’t get a job in this wealthy society bespeckled with help-wanted signs. So why exactly are vagrants on the streets?
There are two answers. First, it’s because we encourage them. We give them free stuff ranging from free food to free money to free sympathy to free drugs. We declare them to be victims, which in today’s culture is a more heroic status than hero. In the old days, we told them to get off the streets else they’d earn a night in the drunk tank, while now we reward, romanticize and glorify them.