Thursday, October 18, 2007

Nancy, I AM your neighbor.

"You can just imagine my neighbors' reaction to all this. If they were poor and they were sleeping on my sidewalk, they would be arrested for loitering. But because they have 'Impeach Bush' across their chest, it's the First Amendment. ... So I'm well aware of the unhappiness of the base." – Nancy Pelosi “has candid talk with reporters” 10-10-07

Nancy Pelosi needs an intervention. She is responding to her constituents in a manner that starkly resembles the behavior of an addict denying her family’s distress.

When, after being denied an audience with our elected representative, her constituents were forced to take their protest to her home, Nancy’s response was denial: “You aren’t my constituents.” But, we are, Nancy. We are. And denying that fact won’t move this discussion forward.

More recently, Pelosi makes an appeal to authority in response to popular voices in her district:”We are leaders, they are advocates” – an authoritarian response that may be aimed to quash dissent but which merely illustrates the growing disconnect between Pelosi and the electorate that sent her to Washington in the first place. I suppose that makes those of us who elected her and supported her a group of enablers.

The latest, the capper (I hope this is the capper because how much worse can this dysfunctional dialogue get without requiring court-ordered rehab) was her recent statement, wishing that she could have anti-war and pro-impeachment protesters arrested just like homeless people are arrested in San Francisco

San Francisco is a small town and that makes me Pelosi’s neighbor although I live in the Sunset District, not in Pacific Heights. In my immediate neighborhood, we keep track of our homeless neighbors. We look out for them, we don’t have them arrested to “clean up” our streets. My neighbor Keith is in a wheelchair. {He is also your constituent, Nancy.) My neighbor Charles does yard work for us because he’s clean now and because he wants to work. My neighbor Dave is having a hard time getting off drugs, but we don’t give up on him. Gavin Newsom’s window dressing that passes for a homelessness policy has never reached out to him a single bit. But here, my neighbors are looking out for Dave. He has bad days and good days. And I believe at the moment, he’s trying rehab again. We are so proud of him.

Why does it surprise me that the Speaker who is bent on continuing to fund the sacking of Iraq has no visible empathy for the homeless of her district? I must be an idiot.

There is a very simple way to save the people Pelosi manages to recognize as “neighbors” -- several of whom supported the vigils outside her home -- the inconvenience of those protests. And, that would be the town hall meeting which she has avoided for over a year now. If her neighbors are inconvenienced, the blame lies with Pelosi, not with her constituents who have the right to seek redress from their government and not with the voters that her willful myopia renames as “not my constituents”.

No outside agitator (Pelosi’s term, not mine) in their right mind would wade into this district at this moment. As it is, those of us who are here on the ground find Pelosi’s shunning a bitter lesson. Misplaced Trust 1A. So be it.

Nancy, we want you to end the sacking of Iraq. We want you to impeach the felons in the White House. And we will tend to our homeless neighbors as best we can without the help of Corporati like you and Gavin Newsom. Your massive disregard for your district will be redressed. Save yourself and the people you recognize as “neighbors” that shame and resign.

Please support the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness. Donate here.