I’m reading a piece on FOX “news” about how residents and businesses are “fleeing Democrat-run cities in droves” because of the lawlessness and degradation of urban life brought about by mass homelessness.
I’m one of those residents who fled.
I’ve lived about half my adult life in Portland, Oregon. When I moved there in 2003, it was a vibrant, clean, energetic, creative, beautiful city I was proud to call home. I bragged about the Rose City and couldn’t wait to show her off to visitors.
Around 2011 (Occupy Wall Street time) the city began to change. It accelerated around 2015 (Trump escalator time). By the time of Trump’s term, Proud Boys were terrorizing the place and Antifa was fighting back.
In 2017, Ladylove and I started our Delta-9 House. It was wildly successful for a couple of years, until gradually we started seeing homeless car camping at the end of our block. Then shopping cart tent/tarp setups. Then the break-ins to our guests’ parked cars. We were forced to close the business and we moved east for another opportunity. By then, our neighborhood and Portland generally had become unlivable.
By 2019, we found ourselves back in the city I’ve lived the other half of my life in, Boise, Idaho. It was like going back to the Portland of 2003. It’s a vibrant, clean, energetic, creative, beautiful city lacking massive tent cities, RV encampment, and general lawlessness. Oh, sure, there are homeless people here and there. But there’s no shit in the streets, needles in the parks, and beggars at every stoplight.
The Heritage Foundation thinks the difference between Boise and Portland is… legal weed.
Cully Stimson, senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, told Fox News Digital that the root cause of the problem is the mass legalization and decriminalization of drugs. “Homelessness and the increase in homelessness would not happen to the extent it is happening had there not been, and continues to be, a push to legalize every drug,” Stimson said.FOX News: Residents, business owners fleeing Dem-run cities in droves as homeless camps wreak havoc: ‘Absolute madness’
Chalk this one up to the “correlation ain’t causation” fallacy. There’s nothing about legalization of marijuana that keeps the minimum wage so low no such full-time worker can afford an apartment. Pot shops don’t form massive hedge funds to buy up residential properties to jack up rents for more shareholder profits. Cannabis fields don’t kick mental patients out of hospitals and onto the streets. Legal reefer doesn’t bankrupt people when they get sick or injured in the only first world country lacking universal health insurance.
Furthermore, making pot illegal doesn’t stop anyone from smoking it, trust me. What it does do is give police an easily-smelled key that unlocks the 4th & 5th Amendment locks citizens have against cops harassing, arresting, and removing them from public.
“The more people who are somnolent, the more people who are stoned, the more people who are given a free pass to use whatever drugs you want, the more you’re going to have people who are incapable of holding down a productive job,” said Stimson, who co-authored a book with Heritage legal fellow Zack Smith called “Rogue Prosecutors: How Radical Soros Lawyers Are Destroying America’s Communities,” which is set to be released in June.
First, let’s drive a stake into the heart of this zombie lie that drug use is incompatible with employment and productivity. Plenty of those hedge funds buying up affordable housing and jacking up the rents 3000% are managed by major coke fiends. Many of the people at FOX producing this “news” love them some vino. The internet you’re reading this on was built and is managed by a fair share of stoners, tweekers, freaks, and junkies. Hardly anyone doing anything in America isn’t at least on a form of stimulant.
Again, slowly for the conservatives: the only thing the illegality of drugs accomplishes are filling prisons and enriching terribly violent criminals. We’ve learned this lesson already.
You gotta love how Stimson thinks that all we need to do get a job and home for the mangy schizophrenic in tattered shitty clothes yelling to himself in the park is throw him in jail for smoking a joint, and that will fix his occupational woes. Maybe he can work at the Heritage Foundation?
The people you see on the streets getting wasted are doing so because, and this may surprise you to learn, being homeless really, really sucks. People do drugs to ease pain and loneliness. Maybe we should figure out how to cure that?
It is so easy for conservatives to look at urban problems, look at who’s running the cities, and deduce that it’s because of soft city Democrats and lax drug policies. It’s impossible for them to see the larger cause, hard national Republicans and harsh social policies.
A place like Boise doesn’t have a visible homeless problem because its police crack down hard on vagrancy, loitering, and yes, drug use. But that doesn’t cure homelessness, it just sends it elsewhere, like Portland.
So, just have every city do the same, right? Again, that doesn’t cure homelessness. It just drives it elsewhere. If it’s not city streets, then it’s county jails and country prisons. We’re already the world’s leading jailer of its own people, and conservatives seem to think that’s a good start.
Call me a starry-eyed Radical with Rose City colored glasses, but I think the first step toward ending homelessness would be to guarantee every U.S. citizen a home, an education, healthcare, basic income, and a job, like President Franklin Roosevelt proposed last century. Maybe instead of a nation of a few billionaires, a lot of overworked debt-laden workers, and an increasing amount of poverty, we trade that for a few centimillionaires, debt-free well-paid workers, and a social safety net strong enough to keep the capable out of poverty and the incapable cared for and not languishing on the streets?