Let me set the stage:
The mayor of Austin Texas Steve Adler and Austin city council voted, fair and square, to allow homeless people to camp on city land in Austin. Homeless people aren't allowed to camp in parks or in front of city hall. But everywhere else is fair game.
Well, the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, (a Republican, for the record. (some people like to blame Democrats on the entire homeless mess)) is having none of it.
On Wednesday he declared if they don't change this law he is going to step in.
"The governor explained that if he does not witness consequential improvement by that date [November 1, 2019], he intends to direct multiple state agencies to intervene."
He's talking about sending in state troopers to enforce "criminal trespassing" laws.
Austins council passed ordinances largely decriminalizing sitting, camping or lying down in most public places on June 20.
Granted, I don't know a lot about Texas government. Maybe the governor plows into cities all the time down there overturning laws created by city council and approved of by the mayor. But where I come from I'd be pretty outraged if that happened in my city.
Look, I'm about 75% in approval of what Austin City Council did here. Because I have experience running a homeless tent village for 2 years I have some insight that they might not yet have on the topic. I believe they would probably be better off creating a few designated areas for sanctioned homeless tent villages. They should create rules in the camps and measure results.
But mostly I'm just incredibly thankful they are experimenting with dealing with homelessness in their city. They will likely evolve their thinking over time as things progress.
But Texas Governor Greg Abbott is having none of it. He's bringing his hired guns on November 1 to fix the the growing homelessness crisis" in Austin.
This is hatred of homeless people. This is homeless hate.
What kind of governor is willing to usurp city law because he is so worried about criminal trespassing? Honestly, this feels like the most un-Texan thing I can imagine. Isn't Texas supposed to be the Lone Star State? Aren't they the people in America that want less government most of all?
But Governor Abbott is so in love with protecting criminal trespassing laws on Austin city land that he is compelled to ship in Texas state troopers to save Austin city from itself.
This isn't about criminal trespassing. This is about homeless people. Abbott clearly doesn't like homeless people. He wants them to disappear (or leave Texas or die).
I think some of you bristle a little when I use the "H" word. But we cannot cover up the truth of these brutal government attacks on homeless people. Americans have a long history of hating people we don't like. We regularly have hate crimes and we regularly institute hate laws. We must not turn away from things that make us uncomfortable.
Some American government officials hate homeless people. You can see it by their endless camp sweeps, their no feeding laws, their no sitting laws. These are laws put in place by people that hate homeless people.
21st century homelessness is the result of Ronald Reagan decimating our mental health facilities and Bill Clinton destroying our welfare system and also giving away all of our jobs with NAFTA.
The chickens are coming home to roost.
When the economy is doing great and unemployment is at an all time low but we continue to see a rise in homelessness there is something fundamentally broken in our system. We have to try new ideas to address this great American disgrace and tragedy.
When a 90 year old man is arrested for handing out food in a park in Florida, that's homeless hate.
And when Akron city mayor Dan Horrigan is attacking 9 homeless encampments all at once TODAY and every Friday that is homeless hate.
We can't be afraid of the truth. The truth may hurt. But the truth will set us free.
Homeless hate is real. And most of it is being pushed on us by various levels of government in America.