since i’ve gotten back to oakland, it is clear that the homeless problem here has grown worse by orders of magnitude, almost certainly because of the pandemic. people walk right by abject poverty and needless human suffering every day like it’s totally normal. it is not normal. this is a massive humanitarian crisis right on our doorstep. i don’t blame people for not knowing what to do. people are just trying to live. this is a systemic problem that everyday people have very little power over. i just can’t believe nothing is being done about it is all. there are literally shantytowns and massive encampments of homeless people all along international boulevard, in these weird and forgotten corners of east oakland that the city has effectively given up on. it really does make me sick to think about. what is the end goal here? to just have tens of thousands of people permanently living in squalor on the streets?

we are alive and have to live somewhere. we live in countries. a country is a collection of people with commonalities who are trying to live. so what does it mean when we have an existential crisis collectively? what sort of society do we want to live in? one day we will die. have we decided that the happiness of strangers isn’t important? do we not care that our brothers and sisters are sick and poor? are we comfortable living this way? it sure seems that way!