Last night, I encouraged a member of our community, a disabled, unemployed veteran who has been struggling to make his way through the VA benefits labyrinth and faced repeatedly with the prospect of homelessness, to write a diary asking Kossacks for help to buy him more time in his apartment so that his benefits and possible employment could kick in. He didn't want to: his previous diaries were pleas for information and survival tactics on how to live homelessly, and the community reached back with substantial cash gifts to his Paypal account to keep him in his home a little longer. He never had asked for money: until I urged him to. The diary, which got only a dozen or so comments, is here: Veteran in Need Follow me over the fold to find out what happened next.
BIG UPDATE: Bev has responded to my messages, and it appears that it was emails he received... and that means it is possible that it may NOT be registered members of DailyKos who sent him the condemnatory messages. I am changing my diary below.
I was unsurprised to find that a direct plea led to some negative response. However, considering that Bevomav is facing the finality of being out of his apartment, having to ship his wife off to a friend's tiny home, and possibly losing most or all of his goods if he is unable to afford to store them, and living in his old SUV and abandoning his cats at the end of this month, he has faced this for months now.
What he hasn't had to face was the derision, condemnation, and hatred of members of this community for doing what I urged him to do against his better judgement: to ask for financial help. The result was nasty messages via email, which came from finding his email address on DKOS, and some supportive outreach by a handful of people who saw the diary before it sunk below the horizon.
He wrote to me this morning to tell me about the negative messages. This, he told me, is what hurts him the most, and what will undoubtedly cause him to turn away from DailyKos, the progressive community, and the real information and guidance to thread his way through the frayed safety net that has failed a member of our most vulnerable population, the aging, the disabled, the veterans with inadequate benefits.
This is what Republicans do: blame the victim, and call those who are unable to work lazy, or taking undeservedly from their rich hands. Is that who we are? It would be dishonorable for me, having pressured Bevomav to write that diary, without coming out and telling those of you who thought it was right and good to kick a man when he's down, that you shouldn't have been sending those condemning messages to him, you should have sent them to me, because I was the cause of that diary being written; because I believed that even if he did not get any money, or any better suggestions, or another extension on his fragile grip on his home, he would have done all he could while he waited for the VA additional benefits and employment opportunities to kick in.
Who kicks a disabled vet when he's down? Do Kossacks do this? I sure hope not!!! I hope that the emails did not come from registered users here... and I have updated my diary with the specifics about what he got for messages. Since they are emailed and not in the DKos system, I will ask Bev to post one of the hate mails he received.
A final note: to those dozens and dozens of folks who reached out and contributed time, phone calls, visits, and yes, cash - to help Bevomav stay in his home through the winter, you have my thanks on top of his. I would like to believe that those who felt it necessary to kick him when he is facing this last countdown to eviction, are all just heartless right-wing trolls... but I'm afraid not all of them are.
Updated by louisev at Wed May 04, 2011 at 07:40 AM PDT
UPDATE: Wow okay, so this diary really IS on the rec list, I thought I was imagining it! Thanks for all who commented in support of helping the homeless and unemployed!!!
UPDATE 2: I have asked Bevomav to post one of the emails to the comments section. Yes, one of the emails was from a registered user of the community, and another accused him of running a scam. It is sad, but I suppose in a way it is understandable, or would be if it weren't for the fact that he provided his personal info, and has had at least two members of the community in direct contact with him to help him with the Veteran's Administration benefits issues. So I don't have a lot of patience with the "It's a scam!" accusation, personally.
UPDATE 3: Here's one of the emails Bevomav received:
This sender is DomainKeys verified
"James Johnson" Add sender to Contacts
I have followed you miserable story for nearly a year. It is time for you to move on and give this community a rest. We are tired of you constant diaries begging for money. You should get a job and work, instead of asking people who DO WORK to bail you and you fucking cats out.
GET A CLUE, NO ONE CARES IF YOU MAKE IT OR NOT!