Housing IS a basic human right

16 02 2009

At President Obama’s Town Hall meeting on February 10th in Fort Meyers, FL., a homeless woman named Henrietta Hughes stood up and implored the president for help:

I have an urgent need, unemployment and homelessness, a very small vehicle for my family and I to live in. The housing authority has two years’ waiting lists, and we need something more than the vehicle and the parks to go to. We need our own kitchen and our own bathroom. Please help.

Hughes and her adult son have been homeless for “a long time” – after her son lost his job in computer programming, they lost their house. She has been looking for a job herself, despite being on disability for cancer, but has not been successful.

Obama kissed Hughes on the cheek and told her, “We’re going to do everything we can to help you, but there are a lot of people like you.” His staff members met with her after the meeting and she left feeling satisfied and grateful for having been acknowledged.

However, conservative pundits have been very quick to criticize Hughes for trying to “milk the system for all its worth.” Michelle Malkin has been publicly taunting Hughes:

Hughes didn’t explain the cause of her financial turmoil. Obama didn’t ask. And if we conservatives dare to question the circumstances — and the underlying assumption that it is government’s (that is, taxpayers’) role to bail her out — we’ll be lambasted as cruel haters of the downtrodden…Well, pardon my unbending belief in fairness and personal responsibility, but why should my tax dollars go to feed the housing entitlement beast?

…That is quite harsh… What I do not understand is why conservatives are trying so hard to tear Hughes to pieces. She is one of many individuals who have been adversely affected by the country’s economic structures and policies. Also, “personal responsibility” only goes so far. It is time that people stop falsely attributing issues like poverty as individual problems. Like the whole if you worked harder you wouldn’t be poor. Well, it’s not that simple. What about the political, social, and economic institutions and systemic structures that cause and perpetuate poverty among certain populations?

And Hughes is not looking for free hand-outs from the government. She is justifiably asking for housing, which is a basic human right. When Malkin and others need to get off their pedestal and stop being blinded by their own privilege. Just because someone is not as educated, wealthy and fortunate as you does not mean they deserve to be living on the street.



One response

21 04 2009

It seems to me that Obama can do no right to certain movements- you know, primarily those movements who never wanted him in power.
I saw a brief clip of Obama speaking on how sexual education and how abstinance should be a part of it, but not the whole. How if his girls grew up, and “made a mistake” (not something I agreed with but he’s still MASSIVE step forwards) by sleeping with someone, he wouldn’t want them “punished” with a baby or an STD.

I think Obama is imperfect in many of his beliefs. But, I also think he’s a huge, HUGE step forwards for this country.
But the comments from that speech just gobsmacked me. Even the title was mocking his ideas, never mind that they can just as easily be used within marraige to prevent- say- babies and STDs.

My point is that Obama might be taking positive steps, but the people who don’t want him in power will try to make it look negative. In fact, they may even believe it.

My faith in Obama is growing.

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