If you want to see human primate behavior at its worst, I can't think of a better place than at the next neighborhood (In the never-ending series of neighborhood explosions) that will occur as soon as SHARE opens a shelter in yet another host church.
The SHARE neighborhood gatherings almost always descend into an outbreak of hysteria fueled by fear that the homeless will plunder our houses, burn down our garage, steal our children, abuse our spouses, and pee in our bushes. In Seattle one also witnesses the agonizing descent of progressive, eco-friendly, really nice neighbors morphing into belligerent, bullying, arrogant, selfish, "not in my backyard" hypocrites who haven't a clue as to how shallow their character truly has become.
But my beef isn't with them. Those nice neighbors, nice mostly because they are relatively secure, are trapped like slaves in Pharaoh's empire by a political process that caters to the appetites of the massively wealthy who care little at all about the common good. It is a great sadness that the middle class identifies with the agenda of the obscene rather than focusing on housing for all, living wages, and limits to wealth. It was the wealthy who destroyed low-income housing in this city, and it is the wealthy who set the political agenda that creates homelessness.
But my beef isn't with the wealthy. After all they are only being true to their nature as exploiters. They only care about profit, their own benefits. My beef is actually with SHARE, an organization that evidently has only one tool in its box, and is seemingly incapable of adapting and evolving with the changing of time and circumstance.
For example, SHARE's routine is this: locate a host for shelter space, inform the neighborhood that it is moving in next week, call together a community gathering for neighbors to vent, march up a hapless, ill-trained motley crew of homeless targets that sit passively through a two-three hour mauling of whatever dignity they might have left, and then move the shelter in as the neighborhood temper tantrum dies down into resignation.
It works for SHARE but it damages the host and it brings an unnecessary provocation within the neighborhood. It seems to me it might be more fruitful for SHARE to first bring an education forum into the neighborhood, complete with a political organizing strategy to help the neighbors direct their anger at the place it belongs: the Mayor's office and City Council. But this would mean that SHARE, with limited resources, might have to first learn how to become an equal partner with other homeless advocates. They might have to learn to depend on allies to help them. That would mean that SHARE might have to grow up out of adolescence into adulthood as a movement of real change. It would mean that SHARE might have to, well, share the mission with others.