The past two mornings I've stopped by "Tent City II" on my way to the office.
At the insistence of the Dallas City Council, city staff, including police, were given about two weeks to clean up the camp and remove the residents.
The scene: magnetic. Both days, it literally pulled me into its center as I got out of my car (a huge luxury, by the way).
The pull connected my eyes to an extremely hard, harsh reality over the two-day period.
Possibly 100 tents with the owners and others on day one. By 9:00 a.m. on day two, virtually everything had been removed, including most of the people.
Almost all of the residents were black.
All possessed almost nothing.
When rounded up by the city workers, these possessions formed giant piles that otherwise I would have classified as trash. In fact, the piles represented the net worth of the departing owners.
The deadline on this closing, harsh itself, fit the circumstances of the people I saw Monday and Tuesday. Better, the deadline, completely unrealistic, framed our community response to the poorest, weakest and most vulnerable among us.
We haul trash off.
We move undesirable persons, even when they have no place to go.
Some regard our homeless neighbors as inherent "losers."
If you think about it and if you hear the stories of those being moved from under now the second bridge in our city, these people are definitely losers, just not inherently so.
You see, each has lost something precious, invaluable and essential. In most cases the loss has been in multiple layers, as loss usually goes with people.
Losses like. . .
Children and grandchildren.
The list goes on.
Maybe I'm off the edge here. But, if I put myself in the shoes of these, the weakest among us, I'd hope for better from my hometown.
But, how realistic would my hope actually be?
What if I lost everything and became a real "loser" due to the loss, what could I expect? Where could I place my trust at the lowest moment of my life? To whom could I turn with a realistic expectation of receiving the help, the hand up I would certainly need to get back home?
Based on our community performance to date, my honest answers provide me no real comfort.