Tuesday, August 9, 2011

What's Your Greatest Concern? The Debt Ceiling or a Ceiling Over Your Head?

By Jeremy ReynaldsSenior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (ANS) -- It was just a simple quote from a CNN commentator. He said that according to country legend Willie Nelson, more people are concerned about having a ceiling (over their heads) than the debt ceiling.

That made me wonder what some of our Joy Junction guests had to say about the debt ceiling.

Rima said, "I do not care about the debt ceiling. I would prefer a roof over my head, of my own, that I could afford."
Cheryl said, "I know the debt ceiling has something to do with our situation as a whole, but personally, I am only concerned about the fact that Dr. Reynalds has a roof over my head."

That feeling was echoed by Mike, who said, "I am still concerned about it, but only a little. I still need a roof over my head, and JJ is doing that for me."

Jessica said, "I think I would rather have a safe place for my daughter."

Danny said something that resonated with me. "Having a roof over my head gives me peace of mind."
Helen agreed with Danny, saying, "I worry about the ceiling over my head because it is very important to have a place to live. No one WANTS to be homeless."

Carlos' response was one expressed by many people-homeless or homed. He said, "I think that the government doesn't care about us. All they think about is themselves."

Another Joy Junction guest reinforced Carlos' comment. She said legislators' voting record makes that clear. She added, "Instead of thinking of the whole, they think about what's best for them and people like them."

In addition to asking some of our guests, I posted the comment on Facebook, both on my page and the Joy Junction fan page. A slew of diverse responses resulted quite quickly.

Gregory Michael Gonzales said, "Being homeless isn't the worst thing that can happen to a person, and shouldn't define a person's worth. What really matters is where their soul is going when they move from this tent of a body."

That generated a response from me. I wrote, "Gregory, while our eternal destiny is indeed the most important thing, the despair and devastation that routinely accompany homelessness can often impact the way a person regards his or her Heavenly Father. Our mission is to give physical comfort and safety and share the message of eternal hope in Jesus"

Maria Theresa Cordova vented some frustration, writing "Oh, I get it alright. I totally understand no roof over my head, been there, done that through no fault of my own. Now, about the economy. I say that our government is the problem and does not understand the economy or serving us, the citizens. I personally would appreciate all the ridiculous games, childish arguments and threats to STOP."

Then Don John Long expressed a sentiment I have heard more often as of late, saying, "The Republicans should try sleeping in a cardboard box by the side of the road sometime and see how they like it."

Though this statement was directed at the Republicans, I have heard it made in a more general fashion to any public officials responsible for laws and ordinances affecting the homeless population.

Joyce Anderson's reference to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs echoed my own feelings on the situation.

Maslow said (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needs) you had to have your most basic needs met before you could focus on higher, or secondary, needs.

How can you worry about "the debt ceiling," which while important becomes something almost ethereal and far removed from reality, when you are spending your nights and days worrying about food and shelter.

Joyce added, "Of course, severe frustration with all the bickering, polarity, and corruption, makes me want to bury my head in the sand too. We Americans don't have a whole lot of reason to be proud of our elected leaders of today."

All of these sentiments echo the same thought: something must be done, fundamentally, to the way this country is run. These laws being put in place, to raise the debt ceiling and others, are nothing more than band-aids and medications to mask the TRUE problem. You can only mask symptoms for so long, before the real problems start to occur.

Are we approaching that reality? You tell me.

Jeremy Reynalds is Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, a freelance writer and also the founder and CEO of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter,http://www.joyjunction.org He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is "Homeless in the City."

Additional details on "Homeless in the City" are available at http://www.homelessinthecity.com. Reynalds lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For more information contact: Jeremy Reynalds atjeremyreynalds@comcast.net.

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