What is art? Nature concentrated.
- Balzac, French Novelist (1799-1850)
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Los Angeles County’s homeless population has grown by 12 percent during the past two years amid a sluggish economic recovery that has left the poorest residents of the second-largest U.S. metropolitan area falling farther behind, a study released on Monday found.
The Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority’s report cited stagnant or falling wages among the lowest-income earners, a local jobless rate that remains above state and national averages, and a worsening lack of affordable housing.
The ranks of the homeless are swelling, but you’d never know it from the nightly news broadcasts. I find it fascinating, because I’m old enough to remember the days when Reagan was president and if you’re old enough to remember the 80s, you’re old enough to remember that there was no issue the media pushed harder on its broadcasts than the plight of the homeless in Reagan’s America.
Just a couple of weeks ago I was reminded of that ’80s fixation at the grocery store as they piped over the speakers Phil Collins’ song “Another Day in Paradise”, a #1 hit from 1989 which spotlighted the problem in both the video and its poignant lyrics:
She calls out to the man on the street
‘Sir, can you help me?
It’s cold and I’ve nowhere to sleep,
Is there somewhere you can tell me?’
He walks on, doesn’t look back
He pretends he can’t hear her
Starts to whistle as he crosses the street
Seems embarrassed to be there
Oh think twice, it’s another day for you and me in paradise
Oh think twice, ’cause it’s just another day for you,
You and me in paradise, think about it
It wasn’t just the news media and the musicians whose hearts were swollen with concern for the homeless back in the 1980s, even a sitcom like the Golden Girls devoted an episode to the folks in a homeless shelter, complete with a dialog-free three-minute-long video montage as a singer crooned, “Brother Can You Spare a Dime.” Now that was from the heart, how often do you see a sitcom breakout with a three-minute video montage?
And then Clinton was elected president and suddenly, I guess the homeless must have magically disappeared, because in Hollywood and all across the news media, the plight of the homeless was no longer even mentioned.
So now we see that homelessness is on the rise again, but outside of a brief mention flashed across the Reuters’ wire, somehow the rest of the news media doesn’t find it even worth a mention. Not as long as ABC-NBC-CBS-PBS-NPR-CNN-MSNBC have their man in the White House.
If you care about the homeless, if you want to raise awareness about the homeless, the solution is simple. Vote Republican in 2016 and watch how quickly the media rediscovers the plight of the homeless in America.