Homelessness in America

Written by Gerald L. Campbell

Homelessness In America Part One .....Withrepparttar collapse ofrepparttar 109423 Soviet Union and its East European empire,repparttar 109424 United States has becomerepparttar 109425 undisputed economic, political, and military power inrepparttar 109426 world. Abroad, America inspires a commitment to economic progress, individual freedom, democratic values, and peace that is shared in varying degrees by nearly allrepparttar 109427 peoples and nations ofrepparttar 109428 world. At home, America’s economy continues to be an engine of opportunity and her technological inventiveness keeps on igniting dreams for countless dreamers. Clearly, it would seem thatrepparttar 109429 United States stands poised for a new and dynamic ‘golden age’ full of opportunity, prosperity, and peace. ......Nevertheless,repparttar 109430 long-term prospects for a bright and auspicious future in America are far from guaranteed. In what follows, I intend to paint a portrait of America’s social and spiritual predicament and highlightrepparttar 109431 central national security challenge that threatens America’s leadership inrepparttar 109432 world. Once this portrait is completed,repparttar 109433 pivotal role played byrepparttar 109434 spectacle of homelessness in America will be better appreciated.

America’s Social and Spiritual Predicament

.....Who is not aware that dramatic changes in America have begun to seriously threaten our social fabric? Indeed, overrepparttar 109435 past four decades,repparttar 109436 U.S. has becomerepparttar 109437 world’s leader in most categories of social pathology. Violent crime has increased sixfold since 1960. Over one hundred fifty thousand Americans have been murdered inrepparttar 109438 U.S. since 1990 — almost three timesrepparttar 109439 number killed inrepparttar 109440 Vietnam War. Thirty-five percent of all births inrepparttar 109441 U.S. are illegitimate and nearly half of all marriages end in divorce. The chance that a child in America will live with both parents until age eighteen is now less than thirty percent. Even suicide rates among teenagers have tripled since 1960. Suicide now ranks asrepparttar 109442 leading cause of teenage death and for every teenage suicide there are fifty to one hundred suicide attempts that have failed . .....Our schools reflect this social turbulence. In 1940, America’s teachers were asked to identifyrepparttar 109443 major problems in public schools. They replied: chewing gum, making noise, talking out of turn, running in halls, cutting in line, dress code infractions, and littering. In 1990,repparttar 109444 answer was: drug and alcohol abuse, pregnancy, suicide, rape, robbery, assault, and homicide. This description is disturbing, but incomplete. For there are profound spiritual trends in our lives that should cause even greater concern. Reflect for a moment. Try to visualize howrepparttar 109445 dynamics of spiritual alienation have been shaping American society. .....Personal relationships — whether within a family, among friends, at work, or with strangers — have become increasingly self-centered. The family today resembles more a collection of detached individuals than a community of love. .....Democratic atomism is onrepparttar 109446 rise. The nation’s legal system has become excessively, and even ritualistically, litigious. .....Our national language has become disturbingly shrill, self-righteous, and judgmental. Too many Americans feel abandoned and alone. Competition has taken precedence over cooperation. Bureaucratic control has triumphed over genuine human interaction in bothrepparttar 109447 public and private sectors.Like it or not, there exists deep withinrepparttar 109448 American consciousness an existential apprehension aboutrepparttar 109449 aimless and self-destructive fragmentation that characterizes so much of our social, economic, legal, political, educational, cultural, and even religious life. Try as one might,repparttar 109450 simple, but unyielding truth is that no individual today can escaperepparttar 109451 ubiquitous impact of cynicism and distrust, violence and fear, intemperance and injustice, isolation and aloneness, spiritual emptiness and, most disturbing of all,repparttar 109452 absence of mercy. .....Clearly, there is a profound ‘spiritual restlessness’ acrossrepparttar 109453 land andrepparttar 109454 quiet voices ofrepparttar 109455 soul are beginning to ‘cry out’ in open rebellion againstrepparttar 109456 dehumanizing structures and alienating dynamics of daily life. .....This drama — which is truly a tragedy of American individualism — carries with it great dangers. For ifrepparttar 109457 spiritual forces of alienation are allowed to gain ascendency overrepparttar 109458 spiritual forces of community — and if they are able to generate a profound and uncontrollable fear of all others by each member of society — a repressive political regime will slowly emerge as a practical necessity to protect freedom. Free individuals — acting from fear — will rush to embrace this regime asrepparttar 109459 most practical means of securing their person and property. To be sure, many would resist. But, resistance itself would occasion further discord andrepparttar 109460 need for more control. .....Already,repparttar 109461 ‘fear of others’ has begun to seep intorepparttar 109462 American character. The freedom to go where you want,repparttar 109463 freedom to associate with whom you care,repparttar 109464 freedom to say what you believe, andrepparttar 109465 freedom to be free of fear have all been marginalized. Indeed, if anyone were to analyze ordinary human relationships today they would detectrepparttar 109466 contaminating influence of distrust and fear. .....Let’s not forget: freedom depends uponrepparttar 109467 quality of relationships that individuals have with one another. Wherever spiritual alienation exists, freedom has already been diminished!

America’s National Security Challenge

.....This drama of spiritual alienation also has grave national security implications. Sincerepparttar 109468 collapse ofrepparttar 109469 Berlin Wall, American foreign policy has become confused and uncertain. And yet, is this merely a natural period of reassessment and readjustment inrepparttar 109470 post-Cold War world? Or is something more profound taking place? Are new moral imperatives beginning to unfold inrepparttar 109471 very bowels of history itself which even now are challengingrepparttar 109472 basic assumptions that have guided American foreign policy for over two centuries? Indeed, is it possible thatrepparttar 109473 raison d’être of American foreign policy — freedom from political oppression — is slowly being disengaged fromrepparttar 109474 central dynamics of international politics? Is America losing her unique capacity to exercise moral leadership in this new era whererepparttar 109475 forces of diversity are inrepparttar 109476 ascendancy and where confusion, uncertainty, and social strife follow as its primary attendants? ......Duringrepparttar 109477 Cold War, one ofrepparttar 109478 most powerful weapons in America’s strategic arsenal wasrepparttar 109479 language of freedom which, sincerepparttar 109480 Pilgrims first landed at Plymouth Rock, had been forged fromrepparttar 109481 essential dynamics of American life. This language, however, was not merely a body of words or a method of combining words; nor was it simply a set of principles and documents. Quiterepparttar 109482 contrary! This language was a complex set of ‘living metaphors’ about America whose imagery conveyed a portrait of human life as it exists when individuals are free from every vestige of political oppression. Indeed, it is a language which truly ‘tellsrepparttar 109483 story of America’ because it radiates fromrepparttar 109484 very being of every American and its utterances flow from whatever any American says, does, or creates. .....Whenever people in other lands, for instance, hear about events like a New England town meeting, an American election campaign, a Texas barbecue, a pro football game, a rock concert, and so forth, they hear this language. Through it they get a taste ofrepparttar 109485 freedom,repparttar 109486 diversity, andrepparttar 109487 energy that a free society generates. .....Whenever they hear aboutrepparttar 109488 Civil Rights movement,repparttar 109489 Watergate scandal, orrepparttar 109490 Iran-Contra debacle, they listen to Americans struggling among themselves aboutrepparttar 109491 meaning and future of freedom. Whenever they see pictures, or hear aboutrepparttar 109492 social, economic, and political dynamics of free men and women, they come to understand that democracy is less a system of government than it is a system of constraints on government. And they understand even further that it is less a way of controlling people than it is a way of keeping government from intruding onrepparttar 109493 sacred things in human life.

The Mercy of Others

Written by Gerald L. Campbell

The Mercy of Others

These photographic images reveal throughrepparttar lives and faces of individuals an 'interior presence' whose poignant energy and pathos communicate torepparttar 109422 viewerrepparttar 109423 conflicting dynamics of love and alienation. Initially, each image comes alive as a living metaphor symbolizingrepparttar 109424 alienatation ofrepparttar 109425 individual fromrepparttar 109426 moral and spiritual bonds of communoity. But, more profoundly, each image penetrates beyondrepparttar 109427 'metaphor of alienation' and discovers inrepparttar 109428 dynamic core ofrepparttar 109429 person a certain restless and irresistible 'crying out for love and community.'

The metaphorical quality of this 'crying out for love and community' gives these images a unique capacity to establish a profound and lasting dialogue withrepparttar 109430 viewer. To be sure, each image presents a brutal and unsettling presence of moral and spiritual alienation. Many who see them will hesitate, grow uncomfortable, and perhaps recoil. Some may even take flight.

But, for those who go deeper, there is much more. For, by going beyond alienation,repparttar 109431 veil over community is lifted asrepparttar 109432 viewer andrepparttar 109433 image are melded together in simple humanity. Each viewer becomes reminded of their 'higher self' andrepparttar 109434 potential they have for love and compassion, understanding and mercy. They feel a glowing sensation. Yet, they also awaken a sensitivity to their own vulnerability. Life is contemplated as though it were apart fromrepparttar 109435 love and compassion of others. They imagine its horrors. They recognize their own 'crying out for love and community,' and realize in their need to 'belong' a dependency on others. They know that only love and compassion can easerepparttar 109436 pain of aloneness, and recognizerepparttar 109437 moral indifference and emptiness ofrepparttar 109438 contrary. A simple truth has been discovered: community can be forged out ofrepparttar 109439 crucible of alienation only throughrepparttar 109440 mercy of others.

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