I share a small one-bedroom apartment with my girlfriend in Cayucos but feel aligned with homeless people. From my volunteer work with the unfortunate who have no place to call home, I’ve learned there are some who chose the life they lead. Rejecting what is defined as ‘living’ within our current system, they have nipped the experiment in the bud. And choosing to live the way they do is as much of a political statement as voting.
You have to admire someone who invites the hardships that are sure to come by holding steadfast to the ideal of living a life unfettered by societal norms. Emerson wrote, “Whosoever would be a man; must be a non-conformist.” Are those who choose homelessness the full bloom of that thought? I am not attempting to glorify their situation. By their own admission, it is not a ‘happy’ existence. In fact it can often be miserable. Yet, there are still some who would rather have their bended arm for a pillow than the possible wealth a life of compromise could bring.
I share their frustration. Even now, amid an historic revelation of the failures of our system, reform has not arrived. I was swayed by the sweeping melodic oratory of someone who promised changes long hoped for, but one year later such hope remains unfulfilled. Abigail Adams, the wife of our second president, summed it up poignantly: “There are too many high sounding words and too few actions that correspond with them.” If ever we’ve been further removed from the noble idea of a republic, it is now.