In a recent op-ed in the Times Colonist, Lisa Helps, the Mayor of Victoria, cited I’m Right and You’re an Idiot in her request for residents to engage in open dialogue to solve the city’s homelessness issue.
The presence of a tent city in downtown Victoria has generated incredibly polarizing, divisive commentary from the community, she says.
I have seen Facebook posts suggesting that a good solution to homelessness is to gas people as at a Nazi concentration camp (a picture of Auschwitz was posted for emphasis). Council received an email suggesting “why not get a bulldozer and push all those bums out of the park into the ocean?”
These are just two of many such comments. Substitute “bums” or “homeless” with “women” or “blacks” or “gays” and we’d all be outraged. And we should be equally outraged by discrimination against people who are poor and homeless
In her letter, Mayor Helps urges the city to find common ground; suggesting a reading of I’m Right and You’re an Idiot as a good starting point.
The people who are Mad as Hell and the people who want Homes Not Hate both have important perspectives and both need to be listened to. We need real dialogue on these issues, not further polarization.
Let’s all read James Hoggan’s book, being launched this week at Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue, I’m Right and You’re an Idiot: The Toxic State of Public Discourse and How to Clean It Up. And then let’s talk.
Read Mayor Lisa Helps full op-ed on the Times Colonist: Comment: Tent city must not define us as a community
Image credit: Herb Neufeld via Flickr