“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Just ask the folks living on our streets.

Susan and I went downtown San Diego last evening to see a show called Rock of Ages. It was this loud, funny, wonderful musical full of the music of the 1980’s.  We sang along to Starship, REO Speedwagon, Styx, Twisted Sister, Foreigner, Journey, Pat Benatar, Bon Jovi, Poison – and at the end of the show we were on our feet singing, clapping, cheering. It was a few hours of raucous fun, and I left the Theatre feeling upbeat with my throat a little sore from the singing and cheering!

As we were walking to our car we passed a woman wrapped up in a sleeping bad, sleeping in the doorway of a downtown building. I didn’t want to stare, but I couldn’t help but notice that along with her bicycle she had one of those carts people use to put their children in while riding.  She had all of her belongings in that cart, and she was using that as a sort of cushion for her head as she slept. Hundreds of people were walking by her, and still she slept.

I could feel the tears coming as I held Susan’s hand a little tighter and said:  “If anyone passes that woman and doesn’t say – there but for the grace of God go I, they have no heart.”

How do people end up on the street in the United States of America? How did this woman end up in a sleeping bag with all her possessions crammed into a baby cart for her bicycle? How does one even begin to think of sleeping on the street? How do these things happen here in the land of the free and the home of the brave? And why is it so many of our brave are the ones on the street?

A friend of mine wrote of his time living on the streets and it simply broke my heart. I find after reading his story that I complain less about what I believe to be the tragedies of my youth!  Not that we all don’t face our own demons, for we most surely do – but, I always had a roof over my head and food to eat. His story of redemption and conquering his demons are worthy of my respect and my affection for him. He inspires me to be a person who now looks at the person on the street and question how they got there and how can I help them find a safer, warmer, loving place to call home.

It’s these unknown homeless citizens of this United States of America who have lost their way – lost their vote – lost their voice,  that need those of us who still have that voice to stand up. They need protecting – they need to be fed, and they deserve our respect.  I mean – think about it.  If you lost your job and couldn’t pay for your home or apartment where would you go? If you had no money for food – what would you eat? If you had no car and no money for the bus or the train – how would you manage? If … If… If…

They all have a story to tell, they are all someone’s son or daughter, mother or father, brother or sister.  What if it was you or your mother or father or brother or sister or a grandparent?  This isn’t just their issue – this is a human rights issue, for it could happen to any of us, at any time.

Taking care of the homeless doesn’t seem to fall into any category on the upcoming Presidential election blurbs of what will help you get elected.  They all seem to want to spend millions of dollars to bash gay people, millions of dollars to kill folks in Afghanistan, millions of dollars to keep women in their place, millions of dollars to allow folks to be able to kill another person – well just because they can, and millions of dollars to force a solitary religion down the throats of a people who live in a land that was built on freedom of and from religion. I’ve heard nothing on jobs or the economy or helping the veterans or feeding the homeless or basically taking care of our own.

I used to believe as Americans we were better than this – I believe now – we have lost our way… Those of us in the middle, and those on the bottom of the scale have been lost in the shuffle that is now American politics and American justice.  The people with the money have the power and the people with the power have the money. The Honorable Lord Acton said it best: “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

As a people – we must find our voice  before it’s too late for all of us. Can you hear your voice?


About barbaraweicksel

My home is San Diego, CA - a most beautiful city. Mountains to the East, Pacific Ocean to the West, and the desert in between the mountains and the ocean. Beauty everywhere, but... The world is full of beauty, and I do love to travel. what I hope to share on these pages are my thoughts and some photos of the world as I see and experience it. I'd be happy to have you along on the journey - and then join me while I'm at home...
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3 Responses to “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Just ask the folks living on our streets.

  1. leslie ImKarn23 says:

    I absolutely loved this, and i love your heart and soul too! Not many tear up when passing a homeless person anymore Barb! You are one of the few people in this world who ‘sees’, and who counts her own blessings from what she sees around her – not from what she still wants, wants, wants! I must note that you forgot one small thing though – re; the politicians spending millions on NOTHING – You forgot that they are also spending millions on pulling healthcare from those who can’t afford it! Just think what a wonderful world it would be if the poor and the ailing just died, and if military people did the same instead of coming back needing to be taken care of! Sigh. You keep singing your throat hoarse and seeing the homeless, Barb! someone has to! xx

  2. leslie ImKarn23 says:


  3. Barb, I love this piece. I totally agree. ALL people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and protected. I was brought up to believe that, and still do whole-heartedly. When I was a child, there was a homeless man who my sister and I passed every day on our way to school. He had a sleeping bag, and a cart of his belongings. He slept on a porch of a condemned house that was boarded up. Some kids were so cruel and laughed and made fun of him. My sister and I “befriended” him. In doing so, we found out that he was highly intelligent, educated, and friendly. He had just fallen on hard times, and before he knew it he had no place to stay. It broke our heart. We told our mom about him and she quickly, befriended him too. While we were not in the position to help him out financially, we did try our best to make sure he knew he had someone in his corner. My mother would occasionally pack up leftovers from supper and we would drive around the corner and give them to him. I remember vividly one Thanksgiving where he brought him a huge plate of food. Turkey, complete with all the trimmings and dessert. He was not there, so we left it on the porch for him with a note that said Happy Thanksgiving. When we saw him later that week, he was so graciously thankful, and let us know how much he appreciated it. One day, we just stopped seeing him. His belongings were gone, and he was out of our lives as quickly as he came into it. You cannot help but think the worst, but I choose to believe that he got back on his feet, and was able to find a job, and place to stay, and that he has had a good life. But either way, it was a lesson to me in how to treat people, and not to judge them, especially with little to no facts. Your piece reminded me of that man, and I wish him well. And you, this is lovely!

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