“I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happenth to them all.”
After a woman died from an apparent suicide in Modesto, a report in the local newspaper said that, “The Coroner’s Office identified the woman as a transient from Modesto.”
“Transient,” like “vagrant,” is among the words commonly used to describe homeless people. For that reason, it’s likely only a few readers thought very long about the cognitive dissonance produced when a person who dies in her resident city is described as a “transient.”
Not long ago, a transient was someone who moved from place to place without establishing long-term residence. It may once have been the appropriate term for the “hobos” or “tramps” who used to hop trains and ride the rails from city to city.
Today, such usages bring to mind George Orwell’s admonitions about the decline of language in works like “Politics and the English Language” and the appendix to “1984.” We’ve not yet descended into “doubleplusgood” duck quacking, but the popularity of media like Twitter and Instagram are hastening an already notable diminution of the average vocabulary.
Orwell’s insights into the correlations between politics and language are especially pertinent to how we talk about poverty. As long as people experiencing homelessness are classified as vagrants or transients — or the even more popular “addicts” — we don’t have to think about them as human beings. It makes a significant difference when people are described as disabled, elderly, mentally ill, or veterans as opposed to vagrant, transient, or addict.
When we classify people as abstractions, moral derelicts or criminals, we don’t have to deal with concrete issues like health care, living wages and affordable housing. Tagging the poorest among us with pejoratives reinforces a catalogue of false assumptions, beginning with the notion that poverty is a moral failing, moving on to the cause of poverty is a matter of family values, and concluding that success in life is a simple case of making good choices.
As homeless numbers continue to rise throughout the Valley, it will be more and more difficult to keep using terms like “transient” to describe people displaced by escalating rents, housing shortages, job losses and rising costs of health care. At what point does a person who can’t pay rent because of job loss during a pandemic morph into a “transient”? Is there a due date when misfortune becomes depravity?
At some point, our failures with language become failures of humanity. Replacing compassion and charity with condemnation and contempt requires clouding clarity of thought with the fog of obfuscation. It displaces humane sympathy in favor of callous disregard.
It is true, however, that in the ultimate sense of the word, we are all transients, sharing the common bonds and obligations of mortality. Human suffering is universal. Cruel indifference is not.
Lou Valero says
Amen, Prophet Caine
Tell us all about ourselves, Caine
Not heard you so fed up and outspoken. I like your way with words, Caine. I like you better telling us exactly like it is.
I’m tired of all the pussy footing around, the fact, that many public office holders are not doing enough about our poor and down for the count friends. In fact, I want the Coroner’s office to identify which one over their made such a brash, harsh comment to the press for public consumption. I want him or her to eat those words OR apologize publically to our community and that woman’s, friends and family, if or when located. This community failed her and anyone who is down and out. With the use of a pejorative word like “transient” it is obvious it was not the first time using that foul mouthed term seemed to just rolled of his lips just like it has been bantied about over time, and time again.
I hear it being said, like a voice crying in the wilderness, “Out of the hearts abundance the mouth shall speaks…”
Be ashamed who ever identify that woman as such, and about any other soul. We should have your job. If no apology then we incrementally turn up the heat. It is up to you foul mouth, for now anyways. Someone knows exactly who you are. We will all find out soon enough. You can’t hide.
While that woman had the life sucked out of her, day by day, night by night, the majority of her city’s folk stayed silent and indifferent as they watch and judge. DO NOT JUDGE, OR YOU TOO WILL BE JUDGED.
By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.
People remain silent until behind closed doors amoungst other people who talk that talk, or, soon enough will if speaking like that within ear shot of their children and children’s children. That is exactly how all that maligned talk gets spread like disease. From a Coroner’s mouth, to a news reporter, to the news, to our ears, to our hearts, where it doesn’t lie dormant, it FOMENTS. Beware of the leaven of the pharasaic ones.
YOU ARE SO ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, ERIC CAINE, NOTHING BUT CALLOUS DISREGARD FOR OTHER HUMAN BEINGS DOWN IN HARD TIMES.
HARD TIMES THAT FOMENTS BECAUSE THOSE WITH DEEPER POCKETS WANT TO KEEP THINGS JUST AS THE ARE. Keep an invisible dome over the valley don’t do anything different that might disturb the status quo.
SCREWED UP AS ALL GET OUT. NOT ABLE TO ENVISION A BETTER SOCIAL LIFE BECAUSE IT MIGHT DEPRIVE THEM OF SOMETHING THEY HOLD MORE PRECIOUS. THEY MIGHT HAVE TO SHARE THE POWER.
MORE PRECIOUS THAN ANOTHER HUMAN BEING, GET OUT OF OUR COMMUNITY IF YOU ARE CONTENT ON DOING AS LITTLE, OR NOTHING FOR OUR COMMUNITY’S POOR AND ILL AND COLD AND THIRSTY AND HUNGARY AND FEELING DEFEATED BECAUSE THE MAJORITY MAY GET DIRTY. THE REAL NEWS, NOT THE FAKE NEWS, IS THE MAJORITY ARE ALREADY SOILED IN THEIR HEARTS AND MINDS OR THEY WOULD BE DOING SOMETHING WAY DIFFERENT TO IMPLEMENT CHANGE.
AND, AS FOR THE ELECTED, TO BE CHANGE AGENTS, GET BUSIER. WHERE IS ALL THIS CHANGE? WHERE ARE YOU HIDING IT? EARN YOUR TAX PAYED FOR SALARIES. CREATE SAFE GROUND AND SAFE SPACES FOR THE NEEDY. WHAT GOES ROUND COMES ROUND. DO YOU FEEL THE HEAT? OR ARE YOU DEVOID OF ANY REAL FEELINGS. IT WILL CATCH UP WITH THE LOT, IT ALWAYS DOES. UP TODAY DOWN TOMORROW. ALIVE TODAY GONE TOMORROW…WAKE UP O YOU DREAMERS…
HE THAT TRIES TO SAVE HIS OWN LIFE WILL SURELY LOSE IT BUT HE WHO BLESSES THE POOR, SICK, TIRED, HUNGRY, THIRSTY, WIDOW, FATHERLESS, IMPRISONED, NOW THERE IS WHO WE ALL NEED TO BE
LOVED YOUR SPUNK, CAINE, LOATHED YOUR DESCRIPTOR, CORONER
WE WILL BE WAITING TO HEAR THAT PUBLIC APOLOGY, CORONER
I make no apologies for it was caught up in my belly til I let it out…like a sour, putrid ball of poison that I could no longer stomach…now it is like balm of Gilead for your healing… bathe in your healing, o valley people, if you let your healing come…
I couldn’t have said it better! The separation is so that they don’t allow themselves to feel for us, after all transient isn’t a name of a person, it’s a disregard for a human life! The ugliness is showing, so I wonder how close we are to that fateful day where all these emotionless assholes will have to answer for these crimes against humanity! If they know anything about the Bible, they must have skipped some very important parts! Like love thy neighbor, because our closest neighbors only caused us harm! The city leaders were just that leaders and they lead their community through some evil things, causing others to suffer, intentionally! We were the ones they caused that suffering and our lives are still being damaged from it, today! I’m doubtful if we can recover from all the hard blows! We are not transients, we are human beings with feelings and emotions, just like the assholes who dismiss us so easily! My heart breaks, knowing if I have a story, everyone of us have a story, we didn’t dream of being homeless, we didn’t dream of people looking down on us from their high horses! Why would anyone want this, that’s absurd to think anyone wanted to be here! Those assholes couldn’t handle a day out here , getting their hands dirty, working all the time just to try for a sense of normalcy! It’s more work than they could ever imagine and don’t get me started on all the worries, more than you could ever imagine! My pets don’t have their freedom of their yard, which was 1/4 acre now they are down to a toddler yard! How sad is that? My cat had my whole house, but he’s down to to a motor home and in the day he’s in a cage outside, how sad is that! I’m so sorry to my pets whom I love dearly !) I’m stressed and sometimes my patience isn’t what I need for them and definitely not what they need from me! I feel so many emotions 😪 so why don’t these lawmakers see that we are human beings asking ourselves questions like, “What did I do to deserve this?” That’s a harsh question, with an even harsher answer, it’s not something anyone deserves, it’s the lawmakers only looking after themselves so we shall suffer! If they are asking God if they are good enough to be at his side, they better just look at their actions and take stock and do better! It is very simple to be at his side, be a person who cares about others, don’t cause anyone pain, feel for those and help like a community should, always take the time to know if what you are doing causes harm to others! If you have to question yourself, maybe you should try a different approach, like doing whatever it takes to try to make things better for the people, even if you take a stand and you stand alone, you’re doing something pleasing to God! We did nothing to deserve this because Jesus died for our sins, just like he did yours! So, think about that, if we deserve this, what do you deserve! Ooh, scary, huh? I wouldn’t want to be in the shoes of those allowing this to happen, waiting on the answer to that question!
We don’t have to know the foul mouth that those derogatory statements were made, because God knows! They really don’t have to answer to us, but if they don’t do something right, they will have to answer to someone! It would be a whole lot easier to answer to the masses, but that is their decision, they are ultimately the ones in charge of their own destiny!
My name is Lori and I am homeless and I have human emotions and a story! I am not a horrible person, I try to treat people how I want to be treated, but now I know how others want to be treated! Lesson learned! My story is very important and needs to be told and the people need to really hear what I’m telling them and know that this could be their story! A horror story, to say the least!
Thank you for letting me tell my story! My accomplishments are few, my worries are many, how did I end up here, stay tuned and see the ugly truth of what these lawmakers are really doing! Thank you!
Lou Valero says
No need to thank us, Lori. Not ironically, we wait with bated breath for you to tell us more. Keep on coming back with more. You have a gift to share.
I say ‘not ironically’ be cause the above phrase has been twisted by some to mean the opposite. The kind of stupid lingo that Eric Caine posted about above. Bad is good. Good is bad. Nonsensical, dangerous, gibberish.
I said it. I mean it. I like straight talk. Say what you mean. Mean what you say
You have a story to tell, that is good enough for me. Better than good, even.
It is intentional, putting separation between “People ” and “Transients” So when the lawmakers make unethical choices for the homeless, they are not worried about being held accountable! There is definitely a lack of empathy in this world! Seeing people treat others so horribly is sickening, but becoming the norm!
I am in awe of the lack of compassion shown by others when life takes some unexpected turns! I don’t know where they get that it’s ok to do harm to another person, but they choose not to see us as people, so they don’t have to care or maybe they won’t ever have to answer to anyone! They will, one day!
Lori, dear, Lori, how elegant you speak.
Yes, creating division has as goal, fewer people to stand up to their bull.
Amazing what a small likeminded group of changemakers, intent on change, can force to happen. Happy are the Peacemakers. When do we band together?
So true, they will one day have to answer to Someone. We know!!! Right?
Forgive my manners, Lori. Did not think, yet, to ask you:
HOW IS THE NEWLY APPOINTED STEWARD OF THE MERCED COUNTY BRANCH OF MERRY PEACE LOVING CHANGEMAKERS DOING THIS DAY?
THE STANISLAUS BRANCH OF MERRY PEACE LOVING CHANGEMAKERS WISH YOU WELL!!!
I believe there are communications left for you on a couple of recent posts, hear ye, hear ye, would not want you to miss them.
Have the merriest day yet…
The Homeless amongst us have provided a window into our own souls. Does yours need cleaning?
Lou Valero says
Nice to hear from you Offthetop. Please share more with this community. We all need cleaning of sorts and healing for our souls.
The Homeless have provided a window into their souls and into souls of others, who make a practice of conducting themselves as if they are not soiled so do not have to consider anyone but themselves.
It has long been time for the entire community to come together as a whole for healing. I apologize to all the Homeless for not having yet accomplished a way to make what you all need reality. I myself am teetering on the edge. Stuff happens.
Please, consider being a regular commentator when you know we need to hear things from your perspective. Keep us informed.
I believe when the Homeless start speaking up, and keep speaking up, you will incite others to take a stand in solidarity.
If we keep in communication or at least keep visiting this site, we can keep getting the word out and when the time arrives we will know where to meet up.
Nothing civil disobedience will not clean, change, and cure if it comes to that.
I am thinking being good little dobees is not getting us heard in all the right ears.
Nothing evil but certainly attention getting. The civil servants are no friend of ours from what I am experiencing. Just sick fat old cows laying around in their own vomit and excrement. Groupthinking the Homeless’ lives away. We need to demand what is ours. This is our county and we need to take it back.
They have us thinking we need them to ask their permission, for what? While they sit around in meetings scratching their heads, we already know what we need.
While they spend millions of dollars without realistic solutions, we remain on the outside looking in. It is damn cold and wet and hot and buggy on the outside.
Lets get them to ask us what we want for ourselves, ask us for our permission, ask us for our forgiveness, for their ill-conceived notions of how far they can keep us away from our wants and needs. How long they can keep us patiently waiting.
I think they better reconsider all of their unworthy miscalculations and turn over a new leaf. Tabula rasi. Scrapped tablet. Clean slate. Their minds in blank or empty state before they receive our outside impressions. The chance for them to start fresh. Opportunity to begin again with no preconceived ideas. Cuz right now they empty headed no it alls who cannot think their own way out a wet paper bag so to speak. All they know is that they are willing to do anything to please one another and keep their jobs. While the rest go quietly into the night.
Without us pressuring them, they go right back into their own pre-conditioned, hypnotic indoctrinations, pledging their allegiances to each other, blowing us off.
We can not afford them their pats on the back, telling each other how well they are doing, when that is a blantant failure towards us.
We need to be the rebuilders of the ruins of the waste places, the raisers of the foundations of many generations, the repairers of the breach, the restorers of the paths to dwell in. While we point out to them that their way only seeks to crumble further beneath our feet, what we hold near and dear.
We no longer will tolerate a world torn asunder by greed and apathetic slackers showing or feeling no interest, enthusiasm, or concern, detached, lukewarm, halfhearted, noncommittal, lethargic beasts with no burden to bear but their own. Had it with the weak minded, the weak willed, who pledge to carry the weight UNTIL they trick us out of our votes, if not election votes, votes of our confidence, only to turn around and stab us in the back.
No more, I shout, no more. Prove your worthiness and goodwill towards ALL.
NO MORE KIDDING AROUND THE POPULACE. WE THE PEOPLE WANT ACTION.
SO LETS ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER TO BE MOTIVATED TO STAND UP FOR ONE ANOTHER. THIS SYSTEM OF, HOLLOW, THINGS NEEDS TO BE REPLACED WITH LOVE FOR ALL, NO MORE FEIGNED GESTURES OF BULL. LETS BE REAL…
Exactly! I am right with you, after all I was a big part if getting those Atwater liars voted in and the former liars out! They made so many promises, but after they were in the fatal poisoning started , that is what I feel about how everyone was turned against us! They are the most deceptive council imaginable, they come with a friendly smile on their face, so welcoming, I believe the devil has come in the former of city and county leaders! I don’t know if anyone has experienced seeing the morph, what I’m talking about is when you see the person and they are distorted and it’s confusing, I believe it’s God exposing evil! They look different, they act different, because they are different, they allowed themselves to be snuggled by they devil! It shows and you can’t see them as people any longer, I see it in so many parts of our government and in that community, God himself said if someone is thirsty give him drink! I know they had to of heard that, because the majority of them attend church just to drive by and laugh , gossip and cause us more suffering! I don’t understand how this world has gone so horribly wrong? I used to think that God’s plan was something he knew, but recently I have been rethinking that theory, because if he knew he would have known it was going to be Judas who betrayed him, right? I believe our journey took us to that specific house, I have looked back and it makes sense! There is a special kind of evil there, in Atwater, I heard about it before we moved there 20 years ago, but I’m from the show me state and I have to be shown! I feel God’s frustration, he was trying so desperately to get his people to come back to him, I knew this but we were suffering so much I told God, I’m sorry they haven’t come and I don’t believe that they’re going to, so please don’t make us suffer for them any longer 😢! It was very emotional, I felt the frustration because he took us out of the house and placed us in the park where we were more seen, more public , 😢 the pain I felt when his people didn’t come was unbearable and I feel that I was sharing his pain! I asked him, how long are you going to let your people suffer to get those others back, because I am here and never doubted you, but I want some peace, so now he has us here, at this rv camp! His people are here, starting with the woman who runs the camp she is really special and sees something in me that hasn’t been shown in so long that is my purity when it comes to knowing that God is here and he’s giving those people more chances than they deserve, they will run out of chances and my suffering will be, no more! I just wanted to live some life of peace here on earth, first! I found a way to find joy in small things , but the big things are so overwhelming that is what hurts me, we are left alone! We are not without family, I was very popular with many friends, growing up, I don’t tell those friends anything about what I’m going through, after all the people that seen it happening got joy out of making it worse for us and I can’t overcome that fact!
My pain is still fresh and my heart is still broken 💔 how many days will I feel the pain before the first lawmaker stands up and comes back to God? Who will it be? Will there be anyone? Please, whatever your name is, please stand up and apart, now! We need you, before it’s too late, not only for us, but for you! My heart breaks for all the souls that our suffering wasn’t able to save, so be the first your soul needs thi!!!❤
Yes, now a days, the legislative branches and the activist judges who interpret their intent, seem complicit in actually participating in the abolition of our own entire government, from the halls of the local city and county government to the halls of the White House, and, the Presidential administration. What is going on? What ever it is it is as though they are under delusion taking orders from an enemy power. What little they do is not serving the majority of their constituents. Is this a take down of American values.
I understand that many want a better form of government. And, anarchists and other countries are more than happy to help the process along. So, WE THE PEOPLE better get our heads out of the sand and decide what form is best, because a wrong decision may be being made for us right now as I type.
Richard Anderson says
Ecclesiastes 9:11, cited by one of our own Solomons!
Seeing God’s word in this world helps me with my dark thoughts, he is always showing me that he keeps his promises and I see , but patience is key! I want to be patient but being the sufferers while the lost souls prosper and enjoy living is really hard 😪, I know he is trying desperately to reach them but the ways of the world and spoils of life have muted his word or maybe even silenced it, even the ones attending church weekly! My heart breaks 💔 when I think of how his word is being taken so lightly! It’s the, “Whatever makes me feel good “, theory, they think if they feel good they are better and they are going to better places not taking his word seriously! It’s a sad day, for all!
AMEN and AMEN
The quickest way to knock off readers/commenters is to post looooooooooog ones.
Many of these although thoughtful meet my criteria of looooooooooog.
Sorry, my heart and soul are just bursting out when I start talking about what we are and have gone through! Thank you for your feedback and I will be sure and take note! Thank you 😊
Lou Valero says
Thank you for your thoughts. Understood. Your criteria is shooooorter.
I cannot always oblige, but please skip my loooooooooog ones. No hard feelings at all. When I reply to your comments, I will not be l0000000000g winded. K? This news site is half way between twitter and a full on expose of non-fiction issues. To each their own.
Keep them coming, Offthetop! We appreciate you and your honesty.
Ok, being homeless really sucks, but the real story is the road that brought us here! I guess my road goes off track and doesn’t get to be about being homeless so a moderator will not publish them, although it has everything to do with how their are city and county officials right here in your own backyard who have the ability of getting away with crimes that cause the problem of being homeless! If anyone still wants to hear all the horrible things that we went through and lead us to, today, I was thinking maybe a group messenger or something like that? If anyone has any other ideas, feel free to share, because I have always wanted to tell my story, but have always been silenced! My rights have always been violated and are still being violated to this day! So, if anyone is still interested in me sharing my story please let me know ! Thank you all for letting me share and for your time and helpful words of wisdom!
Signed, slipping through the cracks!