Even after all this, I still refuse to hate you

Bad News Bruce - Posted on 28 April 2013


I am writing this story because I still have hope through tears. After you read it you may wonder why and how I come about this hope. I am reaching out my hand, one of the only things I have left to offer you, to ask you to come close and join me. We people living in poverty, we houseless people, we people who have struggled with addiction, been locked up in cages, and rested our heads on the streets to sleep at night must come together and love each other. We are being pitted against each other in hatred, for other peoples’ profit. We must stop this. We must refuse to turn our backs on each other.


I have been living in a domestic war on poor bodies for decades. I did not ask for this war, I got dumped into it.  I am the harmed, thrown away, trampled upon relic of a war against people, but I am still here.  My name is “Trouble,” and it suits me, as people around me have never seen someone get in so much trouble for things they haven’t done. I am an elder living in a wheelchair in your city. I have been houseless for twenty years, spread out over decades, in San Francisco. Add another eight years if you count prison, programs, and my years living in a dingy SRO.  Now I am living in my first housing in a very long time, and I am the daily survivor of slander and betrayal at the hands of other poor folks like me.


I am living all alone, isolated, in this scary world. My friends turned on me. I have been the victim of hateful slander, isolation and blaming for 6.5 years. Every day I wake up and sit alone in my home. This isn’t funny. People I loved, my friends, and other poor people are being offered major monetary rewards to weave stories about me running dogs over in my wheelchair, about me killing babies, about me harming puppies and kitties. They are telling the stories to the police, to the children in my housing complex, and to each other. All the while I look out the window and see that I am being watched, being talked about, and see the fear that has taken over the people around me. I am alone and terrified in a wheelchair with near nothing. And for what? So that there will be someone to blame.


This strategy of dividing and conquering poor folks is being used much more than the corporate media will ever show us. I am a former addict and have been in and out of prison, and so my poor body is the perfect target for the perpetuation of hatred and distrust in my community. People with money, police families, and business families are using me, and people like me, to separate us from each other. They are telling you stories about how I am scary and violent to keep you away from me. They are paying you to tell stories about me and even to come to believe them, to blame bank robberies on me so that they can gain the cash rewards associated with locating the “criminal.” And in doing so we are being used to perpetrate and perpetuate hatred and violence against each other. Ever since 2006 I have been a walking target, or a rolling target, for the creation of hatred and mistrust because I fit the agenda. I am an easy person to blame. I am the obvious protagonist of street rumors and it is not hard to put my name in the blank spaces of fraudulent police reports. But on my back is being created a river of hatred with increasing velocity, and it will catch you if it serves the people in power.


I have reached out for help, but people that were once my comrades in poverty are working against me as agents being paid by the wealthy for their profit. I wheeled myself to a legal aid clinic in the Bayview but there was no ramp to get in. I waited outside for the lawyers to come out and help me, but in the meanwhile other poor people who are buying into the plan to make me a scapegoat went into the clinic and slandered me to the lawyer. I was left alone and afraid outside the building. I did not give up. I went to the public defenders office, to the hospital, to the clinic, but the people I want to rely on went in and bred fear about me. Meanwhile, I went to the police office, but they won’t listen to a poor person in a wheelchair. They sent me to a social worker, and then threw a loophole at me that means I will never be heard out or cared for.


Brothers and sisters wake up and join arms. My hand is still here, outstretched to you, even after six years of terror, hardship, separation, and isolation from you in my time of need. The police do not protect us, and the hatred and stories being spread about us by people who are profiting off of our poor bodies put us all at risk. Today the stories are about me but another day they might be about you, or your mother. I have children, do you? I have a heart, and I need connection, do you? Do not give in. I know it is hard. I am still here, a poor disabled elder in your city. Come close despite the stories. Let’s reach out to each other through fear. I need you, and even though you may not yet know it, you need me too. Let's refuse to participate in the destruction of our own communities for the sake of someone else’s profit.


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