I am genuinely terrified, and ashamed of, Lewis County Commissioner Sean Swope. His absolute lack of civil concern for his fellow citizens, expressed at the Oct. 25 Board of County Commissioners meeting, is not merely troubling, but smacks of the Maoist practices as he raises a specter of criminalizing homelessness from a position of political power. We must also understand that he broadly insults the merits and contributions of his constituents, and he must come to understand that we are his constituents even when we are not his voting base.
He has publicly suggested that we criminalize homelessness, not connecting the fact that people who are unhomed are themselves often victims. For instance, I, myself, am a service-connected disabled veteran and a stroke survivor who was a homeless youth in Centralia in the 1980s. I would tell the troubling story of this county's failed logging and mining industries, which resulted in rampant unemployment and many unhomed families in the 1980s. Recently, the VA has cut my benefits and I am staring down the possibility of becoming a homeless senior, while permanently and catastrophically medically disabled.
Swope has disparaged my condition, and why indeed ought anyone support anyone who displays such lack of compassion, who proudly flaunts an empathyless and merely perfunctorial kindness as he disparages his constituency? This kind of malignant misanthropism ought not be socially systemic and culturally codified. We did not send three generations of young U.S. citizens to combat in my lifetime for this kind of hateful use of political power to rise to prevalence in our at home civic sphere. Swope’s approach, which I will refer to henceforth as Hoovervilllany, deserves swift and sure denouncement, if not reprimand. If we follow his lead, stray dogs will be treated more humanely and have more rights than our fellow citizens in Lewis County. I hope we will hold elected officials accountable to a higher standard.