Lately my social media feeds keep being populated by folks sharing memes claiming we need to take care of our own homeless individuals, especially veterans, before we take in refugees. Here’s a few reflections…
For those of you sharing memes suggesting we shouldn’t worry about refugees because of the number of homeless veterans and generally homeless people in the USA, what are YOU willing to do about it? Will you gladly pay more taxes to provide more Federal or State programs to ensure that every Vet who returns with PTSD and other mental & physical challenges has access to housing, counseling, job training? Will you donate a generous percentage of your income or your time to a non-profit organization (like Catholic Charities) working with our homeless veterans and their families? Will you start a ministry within your church/synagogue/mosque/etc. to provide safe havens for veterans and homeless individuals? Will you welcome a homeless vet into your home? Will you demand your elected representatives fully fund programs already in place to help our veterans and homeless populations? What are YOU willing to do? Or is it just easier to hit share when someone else reminds us that this is reality and has been for decades? Some of us work constantly on solving the crisis of homelessness in America.
Caring for refugees does NOT keep us from caring about Vets or homeless citizens – our ability to judge everyone who is poor or homeless as deserving of their status does. The lie that everything you get you deserve does. Just think about the words we use when we see a homeless person, bum, drifter, lazy, pathetic – maybe you are too holy to ever fall into that trap! The lie that we tell our young women and men that serving will earn them a bright future (and I know some do well after their service, but certainly not all and way too many never recover from the scars of the battlefield) and then when they come home, we may wave a flag on day one, but on day two we say you are on your own, keeps from caring. The lie that allows big corporations whose global interests Vets protected to pay little or no taxes so their pawns in Congress can complain about over spending when the revenue is in the pockets of CEO’s who never serve while hiring freezes reduce the opportunities for homeless persons looking for help, keeps us from caring. Read that sentence five times until it sinks in – we are being scammed!
The refugee has no homeland to return to, no promises of pursuing a dream, no safety net of social security disability or veterans assistance and health programs as flawed as they may be in place and likely no living family members with a couch to crash on.
So, let me ask you again. What are YOU willing to do about it? And, please don’t respond that you’ll pray for them because if it is important to you, YOU will do something.