I had a brief encounter with a young girl yesterday. She was probably 6 years old.
She was everything you'd expect from a 6 year old. She started a conversation with me. She was smiley. She was curious.
She read the words on my t-shirt: "Keep your coins. I want change."
It's a screen printed t-shirt made by a homeless guy, Kenny Boldt.
This is him holding one of these t-shirts he made:
I told the little girl that I help homeless people. She said that she asked her mom if she could give some money to the man at the corner of W. Market and Hawkins in Akron. Her mom told her no.
This girl's parents own a restaurant. I suggested to see if she could bring some left overs to this man.
Also going on in my life...
I'm getting chastised by some people right now on Facebook for the sarcastic comments I'm making towards Andrew C. Miller on this post.
It's not my most proud moment. But I keep having this adolescent, rebellious response to anyone who gets upset that I'm upset. "He started it!"
He didn't begin from a place of curiosity and questioning. He came from a place of "tax dollars" and "most put themselves their" and "not even tryin to better themselves" and "lazy drug addict losers".
He came from a place of bigotry and prejudice and hate. This was never going to be an honest conversation.
I've decided I'm the guy that holds the mirror up to society and makes them look at their judgmental, classist hate.
Homeless people are so beaten down they just let this kind of cruel, toxic poison to be said with never the slightest rebuttal. Try to say the same things to an organized group like Jewish people and see what kind of hell storm rains down on you.
The truth is: I don't know how to be.
That 6 year old girl is so powerful.
The energy and optimism and sweet, loving power of a 6 year old is so earth shaking.
But she is stopped in her tracks by a single word from her mom: "No."
I instantly rage with anger and hate towards people who get a free pass to call an entire group of people things like losers, addicts and lazy. Can't they see this is hate speech? That this is bigotry?
Is no one going to call them on their bullshit?
People let all that hate speech slide by and then get upset because I push back. "But seriously Sage... aren't most homeless people actually just lazy, no good drug addicts that refuse to get the help that is out there for them?"
They come to me like they are asking a serious question. Like they are stating facts and aren't actually chanting hateful, bigoted, prejudiced hate speech. I dare you to say that about a Mexican American or an African American. But it's totally fine to say about a homeless American.
I'm upset with the Dalai Lama. (stay with me here)
Everything he says on Twitter is like this most recent tweet:
In todays world, despite ample material development, too many lack inner peace. One way to counter anger, jealousy and competitiveness is to cultivate non-violence and compassion towards others.
THE FUCKING CHINESE STOLE HIS COUNTRY.
The Dalai Lama fled his country in 1959 because the Chinese stole it from him.
I guess I'm just angry.
Fuck the Chinese government! Just look at what they are doing in Hong Kong right now.
That's where I'm at right now.
When the city of Akron took our tent village from us, a shadow of darkness overcame me. It wasn't so much that they forced their will on my private land, it was that they entirely destroyed a place that was caring for the weakest Americans on private land with private money. It was completely invisible to the road and anyone walking by. But they refused to allow us to help these people.
While on a micro-scale, it felt exactly like China came onto my land, occupied my property and shut down a sacred, spiritual place of love and hope and compassion and kindness.
Fuck the Akron government!
You're right Dalai Lama, I don't have inner peace. I don't have compassion towards the government. Why aren't you fighting like hell to get Tibet back?
Even Jesus is telling me to love the tax collector with this story: Luke 19:1-10 NIV - Zacchaeus the Tax Collector.
There's the 6 year old girl, there's the Dalai Lama, there's Jesus. They are all such powerful spiritual advisers. They shake me to my core with their kindness and compassion.
But everyone just told them no. And that was it.
I also live in the town of John Brown. In October 1859, Brown led a raid on the federal armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. He advocated the use of armed insurrection to overthrow the institution of slavery in the United States. It is said he created the dress rehearsal for the civil war.
I'm all for risking the complete destruction of America to end the greatest embarrassment of our country: Slavery.
My mentors of social justice often tell me absolutely opposite things.
All I want to do is get basic human rights to homeless Americans.
I don't care how I do it as long as I do it.
I live in a moral universe of opposites, of contradiction. I think that's what I'm being told. Be anger. Be love. To the same person at the same time.
You'll only see one at a time even though they both exist simultaneously in my mind.
People often ask me: "Why do you hate the mayor?"
It's a shocking question. I've never said I hate the mayor and I most certainly don't have hate in my heart for the mayor.
All I want is for him to change his position on homelessness in his city. And I'm willing to do anything to get it done. (I think he is a sensitive guy that has a hard time being publicly chastised. So I hit him where it hurts.)
Ultimately, I'm new to the whole activist role. I'm making this up as I go.
So, I'm reading, I'm researching and I'm testing the waters with different messaging.
If you want to know my overarching strategy for uprising you can read this book: Blueprint for Revolution: How to Use Rice Pudding, Lego Men, and Other Nonviolent Techniques to Galvanize Communities, Overthrow Dictators, or Simply Change the World
I'm a dyed in the wool non-violence guy. But that doesn't mean I'm going to be all sweet and roses all the time. You are going to see me get angry.
I'm fighting for this. I see it as a war against American Homeless people. I am ambitious. I am driven. I obsess over winning.
I see myself in a nonviolent war against the homeless of America and I intend to win.
I feel like God is sending me contradictory messaging all the time. John Brown and that 6 year old girl are both Akronites. They are both me.
I believe God is pushing me towards a path of opposites, being two different things at once.
Homelessness is only going to get worse as the great economic divide in America continues to expand. For all of our sakes, for the sake of our great Republic we must end this classist war against the weakest among us.
I'm not asking for a dime from the government. I'm just asking for them to get the hell out of the way so we the people can treat the disease of homelessness in America.