This is the way I see it. I was born here on the earth (in a body made up of earth elements) and am entitled to be here: I own the space in which I presently exist, my body, and the spot that gravity affixes me to on the surface of the earth, just by my presence. I’m entitled to breathe the air, drink the water, and receive the sun’s rays.
I humbly accept these gifts, this place to stand, to lie down on when I’m tired, to move around on, dance. This part that I identify as me and mine is just one small part of the larger whole of life. I respect life and my part in it; this is my reality.
And then, I must find something to eat when I’m hungry, and choose an appropriate place to relieve myself a while later. I have to figure out clothing, something to wear to protect myself from heat and cold. A shelter is nice. I like to bathe, to wear clean things, and live in a tidy space. I have learned to grow a garden. I share my produce. How I take care of myself, and how I relate to all of you as we each work it all out together is crucial.
We have inherited lifestyles and policies and concepts. To form nations with boundaries, people have killed other people and taken over land by force, and then divided the land and sold it. In our case in the U.S. we were taught that it was in honor of liberty and justice and freedom that our new nation would claim this land, taking it from the hands of royal forces, and continuing to wrest it from tribal people who already lived here. Most of us buy into private property ownership and work to secure our own portion, and then we have to protect it. A few people have taken ownership of huge portions of land, but many people barely claim the space in which they exist, even here.
We try to find ways to live happily and well. We take care of our babies and each other, and our old people, and people who are sick. There are times when we each need help. We play music, and we tell stories, we listen, we remember, we laugh, we dance, and, hopefully, we find love.
Our towns are the hubs of our inter-relatedness. Prime land, located along public access highways, has been divided up into sections that have been sold to individuals or groups and are now private properties connected by publicly owned roadways and sidewalks. Our main streets offer goods and services and welcome paying customers and clients, both locals and tourists.
There are people who are homeless here, as well as every place. It has always been the case, and probably always will be. There may be some who are homeless out of choice, and some out of hardship or inability to make appropriate choices. We don’t have gates with guards to keep anyone out, and these people also have the use of the sidewalks as long as they show respect. It is my understanding that in a civil society we make provisions for those who are less fortunate, and offer assistance so that people’s basic needs can be met. I see that drinking water and public toilets are essential for the health and safety of all. And offering food and shelter to those who need it is a beautiful and compassionate thing to do. And we organize maintenance crews to pick up trash and keep things clean.
When I say public restrooms I don’t mean porta-potties, even though a porta-potty is a God-send when you need one. I want to see state-of-the-art public restrooms in our towns, and water fountains to take a refreshing drink from when I’m thirsty.