back to basics for nevada!
“One is FBI and the other is ground troops. The FBI one says Iraq is full of terrorists!” Lee, a tall, coffee-with-a-splash-of-milk-skinned man with neat corn-rows marching across his crown, tells me he’s been homeless twice in his life, on and off drugs & alcohol and he has made it now as a truck driver. He gets his info from talk radio.
He’s a self-made man – if he can do it, then anyone can. Jesus says it’s better to teach a man how to fish then to give him a fish. When I ask him if he’s 100% sure that’s what jesus says, he says well the bible says.
He believes we are in Iraq because of 9/11, wmd, and to remove the dictator Hussein. When I tell him no Iraqi’s were on the planes, he says they were. When I say no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq, he’s genuinely puzzled why the media won’t report re:wmd. “My nephew & the something unit marines found in Iraq – tiny cans of seranin (nerve gas used in Japan’s subway)….
Hussein & communists have killed over 700 million people; our government spends billions on social service programs that aren’t working – but making poor people dependent & not able to fish for themselves; women are so much better off in Iraq today – he’s seen pictures of the rape chambers.
He believes lots of poor people are scamming the working fellow w/the governments backing. He believes corporations are their for us, starting w/wal-mart – who gave $400 gift certificates to Katrina victims – wow! He knows the 6 of them are among the 25 richest people in the world – each one, not all 6 together – although his eyes kinda widen when I inform him of that.
He believes our taxes are mostly going to social service programs for the underprivileged – when I point out that 24% of our children live in poverty, that 45 million u.s. citizens do not have health care – when I talk about other ‘developed countries’ and how they take care of their citizens, he points to welfare as the problem, not the 1% richest hogging whatever percentage of our money.
He believes what we are doing in the world is spreading freedom & good works. He’s horrified China & India want to live our life-style – he claims these countries are using more barrels of oil per day than we are. I ask him to point out where they’re using oil – cars? Refineries? Factories? He’s unable to but he does believe if we allow them to get richer then we are, they might attack us!!!
When I challenge his ‘facts’, he says he gets his info from talk radio shows. I tell him I don’t think talk shows are bastions of facts, but rather misinformation & opinions & usually pretty hateful opinions – if not opinions that are far right wing.
I ask him if he considers himself a far right-winger. He says he enjoys listening to the talk radio show in the bay area when he’s down there (once or twice a year) but he doesn’t agree with them – rush is his boy!
He says people should help those who are poorer but only those who deserve it. I ask him how he knows who deserves it and who doesn't. He tells me a story about when he worked in an old-age home & there was a Jewish woman there who always bundled up, no matter how hot it was & who was sharp & demanding & never gave tips. None of the helpers like her but one day he noticed blue numbers on the inside of her arm & he decided she deserved his help - so he always helped her after that, no matter what.
I told him Lee, you know all those folks you told me about - who were homeless & alcoholics & drug addicts on the street the same time you were? I told him all of them had blue tatooed numbers also inside their arms that only they could see. Lee eyes flickered - it's something he might think about again.
I wished I had the quarter page info sheets w/me – didn’t know I’d have to go so far back to basics. I’m glad this fellow stopped to talk – we chatted for at least 45 minutes. He tells me we are from different planets – I say no, we are from the same planet.
He asks me to agree w/him that the average American is a really a good person. I really want to agree w/him & leave on a positive, bonding note – but I say no, I believe the average American is a greedy person – not happy with all we have, always wanting more, and stock-piling more than what we need.
It’s hard to have a conversation when basic facts are in dispute, I tell him. I beg him to do more research. I tell him if he is for peace, he cannot support a war president.
I ask him what his mother says? He doesn’t want to go there, so we part… in pink peace, sam