Republican candidates have been sparring for months on how to tackle immigration, the economy, and the funding of social programs - while the blight of urban homelessness has seldom been an issue. Indeed, these representatives have yet to outline a governmental plan for these poverty-stricken Americans, as even key states in the upcoming election lack any new, or fresh course of action.
"What's happening is that the Republican party is becoming divided," suggests Tucker Carlson on his upcoming CNN appearance. "There's the traditional base of supporters, and the tea party, and they are deciding how to best use a small government, for the American taxpayer," he added. "What we're seeing here is, the Republicans cannot decide whether or not to not help the homeless, or tax the homeless with their lives."
It remains unclear how Republicans will be able to reconcile their contempt for the poor with their contempt for big government. With record unemployment and an expanded administration under Obama, it seems like a difficult tightrope to walk between shutting down the government, and using it to eliminate its own citizens.
"The stimulus has overstepped the role of government in our lives," said Tea Party supporter Ned Hanley, at a recent Capitol gathering. "The government should be bailing out lives, not meddling with them."
The burden is on our leadership, and hard-working Americans, to give the poor what they deserve - but at what cost? "A public initiative would be the most ambitious, and expensive relief for the continued existence of the hardest-hit Americans, since the New Deal," said Michele Bachmann at a recent Tonight Show appearance. "Americans, especially the underprivileged single mothers, need to look hard in the mirror and ask themselves, 'Can I really go on? Is it responsible?' Because our country needs to pay its bills." Bachmann later said that "even our great Civil Rights leaders [had preached self-reliance], which shouldn't mean relying on the government to kill you."
Ron Paul added, in a stump speech days later: "If legislators saw fit to force businesses, especially restaurants, to allow certain clientele, in the time of Jim Crow, why wouldn't the government be able to force private citizens out of them as well?" Before anyone could accuse Paul of recommending the legalized starvation of disenfranchised Southerners, he insisted he was "playing devil's advocate" although government "shouldn't force anyone to do anything."
Nevertheless, it remains to be seen if America's culture of welfare will change - as Obama voters can attest, the "change they could believe in" has literally appeared in their pockets. And what motivation do they have to end their lives, while Uncle Sam is giving them a living allowance? "They have no motivation," argued Newt Gingrich. "These Americans are fed up, unemployed, and struggling to feed their families. This isn't the country our Founding Fathers had envisioned. They're a disgrace!"
While Gingrich's pro-active attitude may prove difficult to sway longtime Republican voters, "somehow these people are still alive! I see the same guy every morning sleeping inside his Volvo! How does he do it!" Indeed, it's even more frustrating when you see the wandering poor in sporty vehicles. "These left-wing vagabonds can't afford gas, so they're trying to get us to use other means," he added. "I don't even know how they can lay down in those tiny hybrid cars." One proposal Gingrich has put on the table are carbon credits - those who live in environmentally-friendly vehicles would have to pay for the gas they aren't buying, to supplement the oil industry. "For every credit they buy, we'll allow them to purchase non-oil sources of energy, so they can leave their cars on overnight without suffocating," Gingrich told a recent conference of automakers.
Although this proposal has received ovations from consumer-protection agencies, carbon credits have yet to catch on for environmental-protection agencies; even though it would eventually mean fewer human footprints.
In addition, the private sector has decided to take its own initiative. Starbucks has unveiled a new program that would donate funds to local non-profits, homeless and women shelters. "We want to ensure our baristas are clothed, well-fed and have a place to sleep," CEO Howard Schultz told the New York Times. "We want our customers to know that when you buy a coffee at Starbucks, you're putting a roof over your barista's head, and giving them soup." The program is set to expand to humane societies "because we found our customers care about animals just as much." The measure is viewed as controversial by PETA, because it's unknown if that coffee you buy could lead to putting down an unwanted animal at certain shelters. "A barista deserves as much as chance at life as an innocent animal," a spokesperson told the Times. "Regardless of how they wait on you, every life is valuable." It's feared that Starbucks' move could trigger an alliance between advocates of multiple species.
However, the Starbucks method would only push the nation's destitute further away from view, and this has been the sad legacy of how America has dealt with its most at-risk citizens - we're never quite able to see the results. Fortunately, they are now visible to us all on television - as they occupy Wall Street.