It is easy to look past that homeless person on the curb of New York City. One thinks that someone else will help them; instead of taking the time to spare a dollar or two. One does not realize that any amount of charity would help. That homeless person has probably sat outside for days wishing for a nice warm meal or just a person to take pity on them. They need someone to help them through this hard time; however, instead, they are ridiculed for being in their position. According to an article titled “Basic Facts About Homelessness: New York City,” it states, In August 2019, there were 61,674 homeless people, including 14,806 homeless families with 21,802 homeless children, sleeping each night in the New York City municipal shelter system. Families make up more than two-thirds of the homeless shelter population (coalition for the homeless, para. 4).
Humans are too quick to judge at times. One tends to think, just because they are doing well, the rest of the world does not matter as much. This is the biggest error in the way Americans think. The United States is supposed to be the land of equal opportunity; however, if a person is being judged on physical appearance, ethnicity, gender, and so on, then how are we making an equal playing field for all? The homeless person is not given the time of day because of their outward appearance; however, who knows what that person might be capable of doing if they only had the right guidance. The crack in our American system is the lack of compassion and kindness.
If one was to look at the head article of a news story, what would the story be on? Most of the time the story would be on issues, wars, problems, and strife, which are all caused by a lack of compassion. Anna Funder, an Australian author of the books “All That I Am” and “The Girl with the Dogs,”states, “Most people have no imagination. If they could imagine the sufferings of others, they would not make them suffer so.” Something that I watched recently which has stuck with me is a video by Moby & The Void Pacific Choir entitled “Are You Lost in the World Like Me?”
The video portrays a young boy who is traveling throughout New York City. The boy is surrounded by the self-intoxicated city, which only focuses on their own needs, instead of others. In the video, the people are so wrapped up in themselves that they are unwilling to help the boy. As the boy continues on his journey, he sees just how heartless the people are. They are seen pushing each other, having zero patience, sexually harassing one another, kicking puppies, and even publicly humiliating one another. At one part of the story, it shows a girl who felt the weight of her public humiliation so intensely that she decided to take her life by jumping from a skyscraper. Instead of the people trying to reason with her and save her, they are seen filming her plummet to her death.
This video by Moby & The Void Pacific Choir tries to portray just how far our American value system has fallen. We need to waken out of our blind slumber and have a compassionate heart. Walt Whitman stated it best in his poem “I Sit And Look Out:”
I SIT and look out upon all the sorrows of the world, and upon all oppression and shame;
I hear secret convulsive sobs from young men, at anguish with themselves, remorseful after deeds done;
I see, in low life, the mother misused by her children, dying, neglected, gaunt, desperate;
I see the wife misused by her husband—I see the treacherous seducer of young women;
I mark the ranklings of jealousy and unrequited love, attempted to be hid—I see these sights on the earth;
I see the workings of battle, pestilence, tyranny—I see martyrs and prisoners;
I observe a famine at sea—I observe the sailors casting lots who shall be kill’d, to preserve the lives of the rest;
I observe the slights and degradations cast by arrogant persons upon laborers, the poor, and upon negroes, and the like;
All these—All the meanness and agony without end, I sitting, look out upon,
See, hear, and am silent.
The only way to fix this problem in our society is by taking that first step of compassion. Instead of waiting for someone else to initiate love and charity, we need to be the ones who are willing to give a helping hand. We are given tongues to be able to speak the truth and to stand up for what is right. We need to all band together to stop the corruption of our nation from happening. We need to help heal the world of its uncompassionate nature.
“Basic Facts About Homelessness: New York City.” Coalition For The Homeless, https://www.coalitionforthehomeless.org/basic-facts-about-homelessness-new-york-city/.
Whitman, Walt. 83. I Sit and Look Out. Whitman, Walt. 1900. Leaves of Grass, https://www.bartleby.com/142/83.html.