Clinging Vines

As I’ve mentioned before I am happy to have a tree farm. And so I headed out to locate some already down trees to cut up for firewood. On several parts of the property you can see a series of clinging vines that stretched from the ground to almost the top of the trees. It is easy to spot them during the wintertime as the leaves of the vines are green. The leaves on the trees that have not already fallen off are brown. It is important to remove these clinging vines as they suck the life out of the tree by depriving it from the sunshine. Many vines like poison ivy grow on the side of the tree and almost blend in with the tree’s bark. It doesn’t take long for the vine to grow and soon its leaves cover the leaves of the tree preventing the tree from the rays of the sun and slowly the tree dies. Therefore I’m not a fan of clinging vines.

There are people in my world who are just like clinging vines. I am always amazed how someone who does not work or contribute to society continues to exist. They cling onto someone, some program or some organization to continue to exist. I realize that there are people who do try hard to get by but are unable to do so. I believe the good people, programs and organizations are there to help those folks. But there seems to be a large number of people who take advantage of the good people, programs and organizations. For example programs like; food stamps, federal housing, welfare and unemployment checks. I often hear that the unemployment statistics grow each year for people that have given up on looking for a job. I asked myself how to they exist. They exist off of good people who offer a helping hand and end up as a permanent part of the clinging vines life. The clinging vine will live or exist without contributing to society or working at a job. Many times it is a relative the finds a family member that need support they will help the clinging vines without any help from the vine. A good example would be adult children still living at home. Their moms still make their meals wash their cloths and give them money to be able to have an active life outside the home. Some of the children become professional students while others are comfortable just living at home and playing with their friends as they wish.

I believe that there are a lot of couples and families who take advantage of the good organizations such as; churches, homeless centers and the Red Cross. I found out while working the streets of Los Angeles that there was a whole population of people who survive for years on homeless centers and churches. If they needed it (LA has a mild climate) the homeless centers, Salvation Army, the Red Cross, the YMCA and other local locations, would provide a place to sleep and food to eat. I would commonly see local churches driving in vans. They were giving out blankets or clothing to those that wanted it, and they would provide transportation to local unemployment centers or medical centers. Many times if you go to an emergency center on a regular basis you’ll discover the same faces in the waiting room that have learned to use the system for their medical needs. At first I thought if I could just talk to these people maybe I could find out why they were on the streets and help them. Although I got to a few, most of them refuse my help and stated that they would rather not work and live on the streets. My original vision of a homeless person was a decaying old man or woman pushing a shopping cart while fighting drug or alcohol abuse. And there are those people out there, but I found even more people between the ages of 20 and 42 who seemed to be in good health and mentally stable using the existing system to live. There were the occasional couples with children who after a year or so on the street found a permanent way to live there. Usually, they used the help of an organization or church.

So far I’ve only mentioned issues in a large city. While moving to the country I found another subculture that seems to survive off of the kindness of others while not working or trying to help. They live in the outbuildings, abandon houses and the single wide mobile homes that were previously abandoned. In the rural area churches and people seem to be the biggest helpers. The good people, usually a parent or relative, allow others to live on the property for free and they usually provide for other needs. Things like food and clothing. I am amazed at the number of people who live off of the kindness of others. I know that many people feel that those people in need have no alternative. These clinging vines slowly suck the life out of those who support them. At one point I felt that the good people supporting the clinging vines were as guilty as those vines. Those good people do have a love for the children, their relatives and for mankind and they are not to blame.

Does that mean I think that when we see a person on the corner holding a bucket or sign asking for help that we should just pass by? No, but I think we ought to look at what they’re representing. I get angry at what seemed to be a healthy man standing near an interstate on-ramp, with a sign asking for money and stating that he is a disabled veteran. I’m a disabled veteran and there are programs to help those men and women. They choose not to use them and would rather live off of the good intentions of those around them. I also do not like seeing a young man or woman standing on the corner with the child with a sign that says “I need money please help.” I believe if they would look at the good people organizations and churches they would at least find help for their child, instead they use the child to tug at your heartstrings to give them money for nothing.

I know that there are some professional beggars make a good living out of finding a way of getting people to give them money for nothing. I also know that there are many people living in federal housing who believe that it is their right to live off the government without giving back in some fashion. Some families actually live in the same projects for generation after generation. There found a way to use the system and because there are a few poster children out there that really need the help, these clinging vines continue to exist.

So to finish this blog it should be easy to see that I do not like, appreciate or support clinging vines. I believe that these clinging vines do not really care about the people who help them. They justify their in their minds their existence. They will continue to suck the life out of those who support them. Many large cities find themselves in financial trouble because of the existing programs that are misused by the clinging vines.

So do I have an answer? I do, use the existing laws on the books and start to enforce action against those who misuse those programs. This is not a popular view. Because every time and effort is made by an agency, a church or employer; all you would see on the news is this poor person crying that it is unfair to take anything away from them. Not that they deserved it but now you’re taking it away. Lately I watch the news for a complete village of homeless people who appeared more healthy than not sitting  lawn chairs who had moved on to a railroad owned property. And after many efforts by the railroad to get them to vacate the area the railroad company had to go to a court and get an eviction order. In both cities and in the country I’m sure you’ve seen an abandoned house which suddenly is occupied but not by its owners. Once the squatters are on the location the owner has to suffer the cost and complications of getting the squatters, clinging vines, off the property. It usually doesn’t take long for the person being evicted to bring in some kind of side issue such as race, religion and ethnic background as a reason for the eviction. In fact it is simply that they have taken over property that does not belong to them and usually continues to destroy it. When these homes with the clinging vines get established in a neighborhood, the neighborhood suffers and many times completely dissolves.

So beware of the clinging vine, they may come to you disguised as your child, a relative or just a person in need. The clinging vine, once established, is a hard thing to get rid of. This will take strong conviction and tough love to either change the vines attitudes to become a productive person or to cut off helping the vine. Neither option is easy. But if you become an enabler the clinging vine will slowly suck the sunshine and life from you. And eventually both the clinging vine will die because the host tree will disappear.

This is just a thought I’m sharing with you. Good luck.




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