Home, Homeless, the Rhetorics of Uselessness

You can’t go home again. Home is where they have to take you in. Home is sentimental. Home is where they stab you in the bath. It’s where you make the best of it.

“Home’s where you go when you run out of homes.” (John Le Carre)

“Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.” (James Baldwin)

“The ache for home lives in all of us. The safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” (Maya Angelou)

“A home filled with nothing but yourself. It’s heavy, that lightness. It’s crushing, that emptiness.” (Margaret Atwood)

“Home is a notion that only nations of the homeless fully appreciate and only the uprooted comprehend.” (Wallace Stegner)

Here: this morning I think of the globalization of homelessness.

“We are not meant to be in this country. We did not want to come. We were forced to flee or die. Americans perceive desperate brown masses swarming at their golden shores, wildly inventing claims of persecution for the opportunity to flourish in this prosperous land. The view from beneath the bridge is somewhat different: reluctant refugees with an aching love of their forsaken homeland, of a homeland that has forsaken them, refugees who desire nothing more than to be home again.” (Edwidge Danticat)

As a disabled person I think of home as receptivity. Home can be public or private so long as it lets me and people like me in.

Refugees with disabilities are being turned away across the globe. The current American president has made immigration a dynamic of health. Do I smell eugenics?

As the Nazis used to say, the disabled are useless eaters.

The homeless are bound up in the rhetorics of uselessness.

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