We keep hearing politicians tell us that we shouldn’t expect the government to do everything for us. They tell us we should be turning to the private sector to help us. Well, one private citizen has been arrested for doing just what politicians keep telling us what we should be doing. He’s been arrested for feeding the homeless.
Advocate Arnold Abbott, a 90-year-old man is fighting charges for feeding Fort Lauderdale’s homeless. Apparently, there are two cases against Abbott for feeding the homeless and the judge in this latest case has ordered a 30-day stay and has asked that Abbott and his legal team try to work things out with city officials outside court.
The city doesn’t want Abbott to feed the homeless outdoors. I guess they expect Abbott to hire the ballroom in a hotel to feed them or, perhaps, open up his home and feed them in groups of two or three so that the city doesn’t arrest him for operating a restaurant without a license. But, they might arrest him again tonight because he’s preparing a meal for the homeless on Fort Lauderdale’s beach.
What kind of government does that? Do these city officials leave their hearts at home when they walk out the door? Would they like to see the homeless sleeping in alleys and begging on street corners like they have been doing?
Where is this milk of human kindness, this compassion that everyone keeps talking about? Is it just reserved for city employees who put on their blindfolds so they don’t have to look at the poor and smell the odor of poverty?
I wonder if this South Florida judge granted the 30-day lifting of the ban because it’s the Christmas holidays, the season of giving, or whether the ban will be lifted permanently. Perhaps he’s thinking that the opposition to this ordinance is only being felt so acutely by the citizens of this community because people are in a holiday mood and their public outrage will die down as soon as the holidays are over.
I hope this outrage over such a monstrous ordinance never dies down. I hope the public continues to demand more compassionate laws from its lawmakers. I hope every judge and legislator who supports this kind of inhumane law has the opportunity to see himself or herself in similar circumstances, for at least a week. Perhaps, then, we can truly become our brother’s keeper.