Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I remember the day I began to hate Ronald Reagan.  It was the day I realized how much he had contributed to the dehumanization of other Americans by promoting policies that increased homelessness.  It was the day I came up the escalator from the DC Metro into the middle of the Mall and saw multiple homeless men and women huddled over grates for warmth.  I was a visitor in a city I had lived in 6 years before.  WhileI lived there most people on the mall were tourists.  I left DC when Reagan was elected. It was a shock to see how things had changed during his presidency.  

So I can relate to your feelings of anger that are intricately connected to your affection for a city in which you once lived.

by Maryb2004 on Thu Oct 26th, 2006 at 12:37:01 AM EST
Oh, I have to heartily agree with the Reagan hating -- the loathing runs deep.  And for much the same reason -- homelessness and, lest we forget, AIDS.  I have to bite my tongue when I hear the younguns say "but he wasn't as bad as Bush."  He did so much to push complete selfishness and callous disregard for one's fellow man that it was breathtaking.  And sold it all with a dopey smile, too.  Asshole.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes
by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Oct 26th, 2006 at 01:28:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't want to go on record as a Reagan defender, but keep in mind that the "turn the homeless people onto the streets" concept was also strongly supported by advocates for the mentally ill. It was a bad idea all around, and one that is still troubling. How do you resolve the question of involuntary confinement of someone who is non-violent but mentally incompetent (as defined by the rest of society). If someone wants to sleep in the park and drink his social security money, who is to say that this is wrong?
by asdf on Fri Oct 27th, 2006 at 10:52:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Would you do it on a regular basis?  If I reached that level of un-ease, I hope someone would try to stop me.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Fri Oct 27th, 2006 at 01:59:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't normally get involved in comment rating discussions, but in this case I would ask that Poemless do a bit of investigation into the history of the treatment of mental illness in the U.S.

The number of people institutionalized decreased constantly after the Second World War, partly due to the work of patient advocates and partly because government cheapskates saw it as a way to save money. Reagan was one of the latter, but it is simplistic to think that he was a jerk who hated crazy people. This issue has been discussed in the legal system at great length, and at this point it is extremely difficult to put someone in an institution without their permission.

In L.C. v. Olmstead, 527 U.S. 581 (1999), the United States Supreme Court ruled that placing in institutional facilities individuals with disabilities who are capable of living in community settings constitutes a form of discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 42 U.S.C. § 12132. In so ruling, the Court gave great power to the "integration mandate" found in Title II of the ADA that applies to state entities. It requires that public entities administer programs, "in the most integrated setting appropriate to the needs of qualified individuals with disabilities." 28 CFR § 35.130. The Court also recognized Congress's intent to set forth a "comprehensive view of the concept of discrimination" in the ADA that does not require a demonstration that people with disabilities were treated differently than a comparison class of individuals with no disabilities. Olmstead, 527 U.S. 581, 598. In this case, segregation of persons with disabilities in institutions (and the consequences of that segregation) was viewed as inherently discriminatory.

by asdf on Sat Oct 28th, 2006 at 01:23:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I rated you a 2 because of this comment:

"If someone wants to sleep in the park and drink his social security money, who is to say that this is wrong?"

The assertion that they want to live this way is a standard argument made by the right to avoid taking any responsibility for their fellow citizens.  While their are many caring and professional people working in it, the mental health industry itself is just a step above the prison guards at Abu Graib, IMO, but I've been through it and I've known the people who are dumped on the streets, and I can tell you, this is not how they want to live.  What they want is dignity.  

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire

by p------- on Sat Oct 28th, 2006 at 01:30:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're correct in that the left was indeed involved in the fiasco.  They were pushing the idea of "mainstreaming," which is to say they wanted people in apartment or communal settings or halfway house type arrangements rather than being "warehoused" I think was the buzz word.

However, the people pushing this idea were not in power as far as being able to implement their ideas to replace it.  The left acknowledged all along that mainstreaming would have been more expensive.  The notion was siezed on by the right and used as an excuse to CUT funding and close mental health facilities.  This was in no way, shape, or form the goal of the left.

And I saw the right do this, led by one Governor Ronald Reagan, all over California before he took his shit national and the rest of the country started following suit.  Not only do I blame Reagan for this, I blame him even more for selling it.  

He's directly responsible for spreading this bullshit lie and making sure it seeped into the national dialogue:  If someone wants to sleep in the park and drink his social security money, who is to say that this is wrong?

Congrats.  You couldn't have said it better if Peggy Noonan had written it for you.  It's nothing but convenient way to let the stupid and unthinking sleep at night without spending too much time wondering why they're stepping over families on their way to work.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Oct 28th, 2006 at 03:30:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series