This is How To Do It

It was an act of Americans helping their fellow Americans at Stand Down 2015 in Levittown where volunteers graciously offered their services to help those in need.  Many  people, who normally couldn’t afford it,  got free medical and dental check ups, eye exams, had their feet checked, got a haircut/beard trim, got help finding a place to live, had acupuncture done — to name a few things the volunteers gave the needy. All one stop shopping at Stand Down.

PA State Representative Tina Davis, who spoke at the closing ceremony, trumpeted  “you need the government, you need me”, and in a cursory manner, added, as an afterthought “you need volunteers,” to stop homelessness.

Like Admiral Wrongway Peachfuzz, the cartoon character in the Bullwinkle and Rocky Show, Representative Davis has it backwards.

To quote Ronald Reagan, “the government can’t solve problems; government is the problem”.

The government was a large contributor to the homeless problem. As I wrote in my blog Fight Homelessness; Don’t Vote for Progressives, homelessness is overwhelmingly higher in states under liberal rule, in blue states, than in more conservative, red states. Tina Davis is a liberal.

For volunteers, helping those in need is a work of the heart, and not just a business. For most of them it’s not about self aggrandizement, as is more often the case with politicians. When Representative Davis made her entrance for the closing ceremony, she approached some volunteers I was standing next to and quickly pointed out, like a little kid who just can’t wait to tell his parents something special, “my husband donated the wood chips” and added that people complained about the smell.

I had to bite my tongue. This was not the right venue to employ my wit and wax satirical with a politician. I saved it for this blog:  Of course the wood chips would smell. It was sent by the husband of a politician, and like the politician, it’s full of manure.

I had to walk away from this politician because I just couldn’t handle her B.S.  As I headed towards the tent, she told the audience what good she has been doing for the homeless and how much she cared.  No longer able to contain myself, I did the trick where you cough while saying “bull sh**”. Another homeless vet from my tent who was unfamiliar with Tina Davis said “she’s an idiot”. He said she had read from a script robotically and seemed to stumble over the words. I guess she forgot her teleprompter.

One example of liberals contributing to the homeless problem is Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s bill to stop businesses from harvesting material for products from state lands. In an email she sent me, Tina Davis praised the Big Bad Wolf plan to hold up production. She wrote that she knows that businesses mining on public land helps the economy and creates jobs, but saving the environment trumps jobs, spinning this into a noble cause.

Davis and Wolf may as well go door to door and hand out pink slips and throw people out of their houses, adding to the homeless population.

In the tradition of President Grover Cleveland, who nixed a government bailout for Texas farmers who suffered drought, we can count on Americans helping other Americans in need.

The volunteers, who ran the show at Stand Down, were gracious just for donating their time but also showed a genuine concern about people and showed an interest in helping them. Mike Fitzpatrick thanked the vets for their service and promised he’d work on solving vet’s problems. So did a representative from the VA.

Private charity has worked in the past and can work today. Milton Hershey built schools and gave a place to live for poor people as well as provided jobs for the community.  Mr. Hershey’s efforts provided a step up and fostered people bettering themselves.  The people associated at his school helped people help themselves.  They showed patience with problem students, practiced tough love and encouraged them to do better.  Here’s an example of a particular student:

It’s volunteers like the ones at Stand Down who are best able to help the homeless get through their ordeal, comforting them in the meantime. The last day, as we were waiting at our tents to leave Stand Down, chaplains drove around, going tent to tent, asking the vets if their spiritual needs were met and encouraged them to find a church.

The volunteers I met up with at Stand Down were from St. Mary Hospital, where my homeless friend is a patient.  They, and the doctors, nurses, and other staff on my friend’s floor have been very kind and gracious towards us, showing genuine compassion and going the extra mile and making us feel at home.

This is the kind of spirit we need to instill in more Americans.  By the actions of concerned people, this vet appreciates being appreciated.  I’m a Vietnam Vet who served in combat, who, as speakers pointed out at the  Stand Down closing ceremony, was not exactly treated with open arms when we returned home.

As was the case with the Milton Hershey school, the folks running the Stand Down help participants  get out of their ruts.  They encouraged us to press on, and turn the “it’s impossible” into “a dare”.

What is a stand down?

When my hands started shaking violently one night as I was handing up ammo through the gun chain on our tin can (destroyer, for you ground pounders) when I was in Nam, the petty officer in charge ordered me to stand down near the end of our dusk raid at “Dragon’s Mouth”.  After standing down a few minutes, I was OK and went about my duties.   We all need a time to stand down before we get back in the game.

Stand Down is a step in the right direction.

Thank you volunteers for doing the Stand Down and to the government entities who  accommodated them.