Shelter Beat pt3

root - Posted on 31 December 1969

Part #3 An Apology of Sorts

by Michael Lea Morgan, PNN shelter beat reporter.

Last week’s installment of “Shelter Beat” came out of chaos and created chaos. But not bad chaos. It was good chaos. Good and bad chaos? Man, that is chaotic thinking. But it’s true, there are different kinds of turmoil and confusion. So maybe I should use those words instead, as chaos has come to be a very deep kind of word, even gaining scientific useage (as in Chaos Theory). Okay, so I put some ideas into a folder on the POOR computer (oh, poor little computer, it works so hard) and, because I was really latein getting over to Poor to write last week’s article, POOR’s copyeditors put together an article from those writings and chaos (oh yes, I’m not using that word) resulted. It’s all the copyeditor’s fault!! I never wrote that. Well, maybe I wrote some of it. Okay, I wrote it. But, theyput it together and caused all the trouble. Okay, I caused the trouble. And now I feel like journalism is too hard for me; I’m just a simple Louisiana boy. Boy? Yea, right.

What happened was that someone I wrote about last week in the PAES office at DHS read the article, printed it, and showed it to me Then another PAES person came out and talked to me about my characterization of the PAES program. So, I had my first experience of having to be accountable for my writings—being confronted by someone I had writen about in a less than flattering fashion.

What I learned from the experience of having made a written statement of opinion was that no subject or issue is completely black or white, nor can we perfectly present our own viewpoint. So, I will always be careful when putting into writing an opinion which effects the life of another person.

An employee of PAES told me that their program is manned by people who care (which, in my opinion is generally true), as though I had written a piece putting PAES in a bad light, which I did not. A GA worker of mine told me she was involved with the design of a new program called PAES and, when I heard what the program entailed, and her high hopes for its success in providing people with access to jobs, training, and housing, I was impressed.

Just for the record, my PAES specialist apologized for having gotten angry with me; she is a person working under the constraints of DHS guidelines and pressure from clients.

There is always a negative side to being positive, because both forces are necessary in a universe based on polarity, like the Milky Way; people working for a utopian world are probably conjuring memories from a universe they recently came from where “It’s all one.” But here there is good and bad in everyone, and that includes not only politicians but also activists and people who claim to be on the side of the poor.

The results of publishing last week’s opening lines is a great example of my point: when I went in to see my PAES specialist, she had a print-out of my piece #2 which started out saying that she, “ yelled the words ‘you have no choice, you have no choice,’" at me. A positive became a negative for her when I took a positive action and published her words, and this became a negative for me when a man in a suit came out to talk to me about journalists who make blanket assesments of programs based on the actions of one or two employees (my specialist, by the way, apologized to me later and is, in fact, normally a very polite person). This conversation then became a positive when he went on to reveal to me the positive intentions of the PAES workers who just work under the negatives of guidelines and restrictions placed on them.

I agree with him and so had mixed feelings (positive and negative) about the piece I wrote. Not that I had in any way misconstrued the facts, which I did not. Nor were there any overt blanket statements about the PAES program. But I had mixed feelings because of the nature of this universe and how a simple positive action can be turned into a complex negative reaction by bureaucrats seeking only to avoid negative publicity (which means that they want to maintain a positive image [whether their programs are truly positive or not])


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