Photo displays the word truth written on a white building in black letters on a sunny day
Photo courtesy of Simon Doggett/Flickr

As I write and sell Street Sense, I have tried to become less political. I have no interest in toeing the line, but I strive to be more cooperative on issues where I can find common ground. In the past, I clashed with managers, editors, and volunteers. I had little patience with college students spouting off about homelessness when they haven’t experienced homelessness themselves, but I get along with the staff Street Sense has today. They don’t come off as ideological know-it-alls who want to impose their worldview on others.

I am often asked to become more involved. I decline because I have no desire to manage or control people. I began joining writers’ clubs, and in the future, I plan on starting a social media platform where what I say isn’t restricted. I believe I have more depth than single issue topics like homelessness, race, or politics. I have many hobbies and interests, including poker and fishing, both of which speak to my political philosophy. 

Poker in some ways is like the stock market. It doesn’t matter if the market is up or down. Poker is a game of opportunity: I can make fortunes in misery or play the rides. So what leftists talk about is nonsense. If they knew anything about money, they would strategize how to make it grow rather than complain about inequality. I was never a game theorist, but poker taught me about decision making. I have no desire to be equal and belong to a collective group. I want to win; I love the rewards of winning. There is no greater joy taking on a thousand people in a poker tournament and beating engineers, doctors, and other very brilliant people. 

Similarly, while I can hold my own in any game, I love fishing. When fishing competitively, it’s fun to watch the pros with the latest technology, million-dollar boats, and fish finders get outsmarted by someone that has a couple of lures and a skiff. 

Selling newspapers taught me failure is inevitable, but also that the person who shows up the next day will overcome the grind of rejection and find success. Some days I sell zero papers, and on others, I sell a hundred. The key is never to put yourself in a position where you must sell a hundred papers or face peril. I learned how to treat my bankroll like ammunition; I spend every penny wisely until other opportunities present themselves. There is no material benefit or magic pill that will make you happy. Life is a battle. I don’t need a protector to shield me from danger. 

I also have no interest in belonging to the global community. Street Sense has plenty of writers and vendors that subscribe to the ‘Woe is me, I’m a victim’ attitude. I can’t be out-oppressed. I’m Black, not African, because I’m American-born. I’m also part Cherokee, and 5’11, so I’m triple screwed. You’re talking to the wrong person if you want to bellyache about slavery. Andrew Jackson marched my ancestors off on the Trail of Tears and the colonial powers tried everything to exterminate us, including giving us blankets filled with smallpox. So you can march, protest, and be butthurt, but I’m 100% colonized by the American system of free markets and American exceptionalism. I love God and the family and support gun ownership, and couldn’t care less if it offends anyone.  

That doesn’t mean I don’t listen. At one time, I didn’t care how you felt about my political views. Today I’m more patient with trolls and partisans. Some want to turn everything into a food fight between the Republicans and Democrats. They see the world as black and white, rather than nuanced. They don’t realize they became what they claim to hate. Wokeness and cancel culture are the modern-day white supremacism. Leftist parrots campaign for rule by popular vote. What possibly could go wrong with that? What if you’re a minority in a white majority town, and they vote to take your business? Imagine being a woman in a community where men are the majority. What if some genius decides since there aren’t enough women to go around, and their needs must be met. Now those women who wanted popular democracy live under tyranny.

Liberals always preach the word “equality.” But does equality lead humans to peaceful coexistence? If socialism leads to happiness, then why do all cities run by Democrats end up like Portland and Chicago, embroiled in violence? I think people who care for humanity will finally end this sad chapter of cancel culture, with its calls to rid the world of Dr.Seuss and Mr. Potato Head. Despite my battles with pettiness, I hope the world will return to coexistence and avoid bloodshed. I didn’t live through the great depression or Nazi Germany. But we are truly living in an era of degeneration and insanity. For some reason, people we elected are moving at warp speed to tear down this country. 

I don’t know their motives. But this has been the mother of all overreaches. 

Jeffery McNeil is a vendor with Street Sense Media.