A Modest Proposal
Yes, I am ripping off the incomparable, genius, masterful Jonathan Swift. The man of my dreams, even though he’s been dead for centuries. I thought it appropriate in response to Berkeley, California’s latest set of bans.
Berkeley’s City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to pass most of a sweeping plan to clear the streets of aggressive and disruptive behavior.
The Public Commons for Everyone Initiative passed 9-0 after months of debate among the council, homeless advocates, merchants and residents. The council instructed City Manager Phil Kamlarz to develop details of the implementation, which he will bring back to the council for further approval.
“This is a tolerant and caring community, but we do have our boundaries,” said Mayor Tom Bates, the legislation’s sponsor. “As a small city, we can never solve the drug and alcohol problems that play out on our streets, but this is one thing we can do.”
The initiative cracks down on a wide range of behavior that some say make Berkeley’s streets inhospitable to residents and visitors alike. Among the activities that will be banned are smoking near buildings in commercial areas, lying on the sidewalk, public urination and defecation, drinking in public, possessing a shopping cart and shouting in public.
Homeless advocates have fought passionately to stop the initiative, which they say victimizes the city’s most vulnerable residents. The program’s cost, about $2 million a year, would be better spent on housing, they argue.
In keeping with Jonathan Swift’s plan to rid the UK of those pesky Irish tots, I have my own modest proposal for Berkeley, expanding on their fine start! (fingers crossed that y’all know Swift and will get it. A tad nervous, as I am sadly aware of the state of our educational system).
It is obvious their revitalization plan is a thinly disguised ruse to rid themselves of the homeless. Because, come on, the homeless LIVE in public and therefore are the only ones who must relieve themselves of extraneous bodily fluids in public. Excepting drunken revelers, of course. So I assume the ban will be lifted for parades, college protests and such.
They’ve also taken away their cars i.e. shopping carts. The City also must clearly know that they don’t own the AIR around the city, so they must be relying on the fact that the homeless might not know any better and will trot right out of town if not allowed to smoke in their homes (again, their homes are outside in public). Unless Berkeley is like New Jersey, who apparently owns the ocean as they charge you a fee to swim in it.
But I digress. It seems that the epitome of a compassionate, tolerant, caring, loving, liberal city isn’t without its problems. And if Berkeley is so hypocritical as to mandate things that fly in the face of their ‘we love all, we are a sanctuary city” mantra, they may as well go balls to the wall. So I will help them out.
First choice, force all the homeless to provide services as stand-ins at any rallies that President Bush might attend. Filling out the crowd and whooping and cheering. So that he doesn’t look so sad, pitiful and alone. Make it seem as if he has some supporters left. It may help our morale and may help with international negotiations.
Another way to go would be to make all the homeless indentured servants. You know those jobs “Americans won’t do”? Well, there you go. Available bodies with nothing else to do. They’ll fill those jobs. They wouldn’t have much of a choice, would they? Kills 2 birds with 1 stone.
Hmm, the homeless really could come in handy with this immigration thing. Apparently, it is too hard to control our borders as we don’t have enough man power. Use the free homeless manpower! As Berkeley has now announced to the World, people want to avoid the homeless at all costs and treat them like the plague. Therefore, anyone trying to sneak across the border and coming upon a homeless person instead, will clearly turn tail and flee right back to Mexico. What a wonderful deterrent!
In the alternative, as the homeless are not wanted in California, but illegal immigrants are, the California homeless should all cross the border South and then sneak back in as illegals. Then, Berkeley could assuage their guilt, as they would be forced to once again welcome the newly illegal, oops..I mean undocumented, homeless with open arms. Advocacy groups (and most of the United States Congress) would be falling all over themselves trying to help them. Berkeley would be unable to hide behind the banner of “preserving our quality of life” and instead would have protesters descending upon the City with shouts of Fascists! Racists! Xenophobes! Which would selfishly serve the additional purpose of entertaining me, as I would find it immensely amusing.
Well, that’s my plan so far. I’m open to suggestions before I send my proposal to Mayor Tom Bates. We’re tight.