I want to give a microhome to … you?

As part of my efforts to solve the homeless problem and introduce a greener lifestyle that is more conducive to happiness, I want to build microhomes for homeless people. I will give them away without cost or obligation, but I will give preference to applicants with compelling life stories who are willing to blog about (or otherwise publicize) their experiences with microhome living.

On November 27th 2011, 60 Minutes aired a segment featuring homeless families and their children, who lived in cars or trucks and went to gas stations to clean up each morning before school. It broke my heart to see children face such problems.

Parenthetically, contrary to Rush Limbaugh's conception of homeless people as being mentally ill or lazy good-for-nothings, the folks on that program were perfectly normal, lovely—even adorable—individuals. Lazy? Ha! Look at the zest of the father who got a job; he clearly relished working.

Limbaugh lives in an insular world made possible by his fortune, call screeners, and assorted online and real-world filters that do an amazing job of distancing him from people who might set him straight. It's not a coincidence that the callers who disagree with him are selected for their ability, as intellectual lightweights, to fulfill a stated goal of the show: to make the host look good. Such callers cannot muster the logic that could evince Limbaugh's frequent lack thereof.

Part of what he says is firmly rooted in reality and obviously true, while some of his opinions are so bizarre that one might wonder if he lives in Florida or on Mars. After years of listening to him, I grew weary of his overly simplistic solutions to complex problems. For example, he seems to think that personal effort is the obvious antidote to poverty. On behalf of my workaholic mother who worked two and sometimes three jobs to support her children after my father abandoned us, I'd like to say the following: Rush, you're full of it, and yourself.

In the 1960s, as my Mom struggled, she faced societal obstacles such as a male-dominated culture in which men often paid women less just because they were women. One of my Mom's bosses, a prominent attorney, coldly explained to her how the world worked: with men on top, just as they should be in his mind, dictating to women how many crumbs they'd get. Women were expected to manifest gratitude for those crumbs and reciprocate by giving men what they desired most. Use your imagination and think real hard. Want a raise? You know what to do. My Mom had worked as a model and, after three children, still had a 36-24-36 figure. Go figure what the boss wanted.

The Big Shot Boss was wealthy enough to tile his home bathroom with gold—sort of his personal Fort Knox—but so miserly that when my Mom asked for a small raise, she was told that if she wanted more money, she should get a man to marry her. Or be nicer to the boss. The message was: those in power can do whatever they can get away with. This lesson was evidently imparted to his son, who shotgunned his father to death, causing her to suddenly lose her primary job.

Thus we temporarily ended up on welfare, which led to me—still in elementary school—being manhandled by a welfare worker who clearly viewed unemployed people as worthless scum. Before we got blocks of government cheese to nibble on, my Mom—reluctant to apply for welfare—stretched what little money she had by feeding us food she found on the side of the road. The watered-down quasi food I consumed wasn't sufficient to keep me from developing two diseases stemming from nutritional deficiencies, and the lack of medical care led to rheumatic heart disease and other problems that caused agonizing joint pain. On Planet Limbaugh, impoverished people in the United States don't endure Third World suffering, but some do. Including me.

Sick of poverty figuratively and literally, I began working in 7th grade. As other children played, I performed odd jobs and mowed lawns, some so large they took 8 hours to complete, after which I'd walk many miles home because my Mom was working again. She never gave up, and neither did I. I worked my fingers to the bone in and out of school, sometimes making enough to enjoy small luxuries such as a new pen or pad of paper, and other times starving, as I described in another article about a miserably memorable Thanksgiving that later inspired me to use that experience to motivate others to help folks down on their luck.

By the time I became a fully licensed doctor, I'd already worked as many hours as most people do in their lifetimes. Though I grew up in a home in which work was put on a pedestal, I'd suffered from poverty in more ways that I care to admit. These experiences caused me to question Dr. Limbaugh's prescription for economic health.

Limbaugh anointed himself the Doctor of Democracy even though we live in a republic, not a democracy, thus giving me one more reason to wonder if Limbaugh deserves the adulation of his acolytes. I'd been one, but saw that when this doctor added 2 plus 2, the result didn't always harmonize with reality.

Limbaugh possesses a conviction that an ideological clone of Reagan can solve our economic problems even though he passed the “largest tax increase in Californian history” when he was governor. His successor, Democrat Jerry Brown, cut taxes. As President, Reagan “expanded the federal government by about 90%.” Inexplicably, Reagan is often idolized by fans of smaller government, or those who justify his military expansion by saying that it helped break up the Soviet Union, which was bound to crumble from internal and external pressures. Limbaugh carefully evades the fact that correlation does not prove causation. Everyone who suffers a heart attack drank water the preceding week, but the water did not cause the problem. Correlation, not causation.

Limbaugh's pontifications range from brilliant to dunderheaded, with oversimplifications his stock-in-trade. My exposure to the harsher side of the real world enabled me to see the Doctor of Democracy sometimes commit malpractice with the truth. More life experience might permit me to see other errors he's made, but arguably the most inexcusable one is his callous and oversimplified treatment of homelessness that reveals a cold heart and a desperate need for the Doctor of Democracy to attend summer school, as well as to get out in the real world. Years ago, when Limbaugh attended a ceremony to receive an award, he encountered a local talk show host who worshipped the ground he walked on. Like an excited child meeting a sports star he idolized, the local talk show host introduced himself and was given such a shockingly cold response in return that it instantly shattered his reverence for a man who lacked one of the most essential elements of humanity.

The Right won't be right until they realize that Rush is wrong too often. I saw what he is like at a time when I was an inveterate conservative. Others need not scratch far beneath the surface to see the ugliness within. Just listen to him, or ask his multiple wives.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program … .

After donations poured into a charity, it used those funds to pay for motel rooms for homeless people in that area of Florida. My first reaction was that I wanted to donate money to help support the charity, but that burns a lot of money without doing anything to permanently address homelessness (although I am not trying to discount the value of immediate shelter). Even economy motels can cost more per month than the mortgage on many very nice homes.

If you want me to build a free microhome for you, or you and your family, contact me. Tell me about your current situation and how you got there. Summarize your life story and your future goals, hopes, and dreams. Then explain why you would be an excellent person to help publicize microhomes as a solution to homelessness and a greener lifestyle more in tune with nature.

Virtually any builder could construct a microhome, but if you get one from me, it'll be free and a work of art, with gorgeous style and amazing attention to detail and strength. I've built similar structures (sheds) that survived tornadoes and even direct tree strikes with no damage. One of my sheds featured in the Shedworking book (and site) survived a tornado that uprooted and snapped adjacent hardwood trees up to 3 feet in diameter.

beautiful microhome
One of the two-story microhomes I designed and built

To learn why microhomes are better for the environment and you, even if you're not homeless, read my free book, Microhome Living.

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The views expressed on this page may or may not reflect my current opinions, nor do they necessarily represent my past ones. After reading a slice of what I wrote in my various websites and books, you may conclude that I am a liberal Democrat or a conservative Republican. Wrong; there is a better alternative. Just as the primary benefit from debate classes results when students present and defend opinions contrary to their own, I use a similar strategy as a creative writing tool to expand my brainpower—and yours. Mystified? Stay tuned for an explanation. PS: The wheels in your head are already turning a bit faster, aren't they?

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.”
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Reference: Imagining dialogue can boost critical thinking: Excerpt: “Examining an issue as a debate or dialogue between two sides helps people apply deeper, more sophisticated reasoning …”

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