Last week I spent five hours speaking with 35-year homeless advocate and activist in Los Angeles, Ted Hayes Jr.. Ted is a tall, slender, sixty something, and as he would say it, Black American. He wore a relaxed fitting cotton shirt and pants, around his neck hung a Star of David and a star and striped scarf. He is often seen wearing an African style hat over his gray hair. His remarkably expressive face is dominated by his prominent beard. When you hear Ted speak, it becomes impossible to deny that the man has charisma.
Ted, to entertain and educate, has adopted a character which he calls Mr. Patriot. Many would be surprised to learn that Mr. Hayes is a patriotic Republican. He often opens his speaking engagements by singing the National Anthem. At this time, Ted is focused on meeting President Donald J. Trump to discuss his vision on how to solve our growing homeless problem. Ted’s street credibility is legit. He spent eight years living on the streets of Los Angeles’ Skid Row. He has a unique perspective as to why so many people retreat from “normal” society and chose to call a cardboard box or a pop tent under a bridge, home.
He is the first to speak out against all the programs for the homeless advocated by the Democrats as cynical and worthless. Hayes rails against the entitlement industry. He agrees with the President that the Democrats are quick to use Black Americans and the homeless to gain votes but do nothing that will really solve their problems. President Trump’s messages to the Black American community has inspired Ted Hayes to reach out to the President to explain his vision for solving the conflicts that our society have with the homeless community. His vision includes all of us changing our attitudes and understanding about the homeless and establishing special communities where they can feel safe and thrive.
To me his ideas are reminiscent of the Utopian communities that popped up all over the world and United States in the nineteenth century.
The idea for a Utopia is as old as the Garden of Eden and Plato’s Republic. In literature we have Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” and in the 20th century I am fond of “The Three Sirens” by Irving Wallace and “The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny” by Kurt Weil.
In the 19th century Utopian communities popped up all over the country. Perhaps the most well known were the Shakers. They all called for people professing the same philosophy, to be living and working happily together while sharing resources and productivity. Sounds a lot like our current rush to communism/socialism. They all have one thing in common — failure. The hard reality is that, unlike our brilliant founding fathers, they failed to take human nature into account. Invariably someone is not performing their fair share of the labor, yet is sharing equally of the benefits and production of the community. Resentment ensues and Utopia collapses. Sometimes the failing is just not fully accepting all the shared philosophy just as we see in the extreme intolerance of the leftist today.
Supporters of CaliforniaSchoolChoice.org made a short video for Ted Hayes to send to the President. I for one, wish him well. The problem of homelessness has been around for many years and no one yet has come up with an effective solution. With a firm reliance on Divine Providence I hope that Ted will become our generations Moses and lead our homeless out from under the bridges and into The Promised Land.