Utilization of Appeals in Solnit and Gumpert`s Essay
Utilizationof Appeals in Solnit and Gumpert’s Essay
Inthe October 2016 issue of Harper’s Magazine, Rebecca Solnit andRobert Gumpert published a photo essay titled DivisionStreet,which decries the plight of America’s ballooning homelesspopulations, particularly in San Francisco. In the recent past, theranks of homeless persons have dramatically increased as SanFrancisco’s previously housed resident suffered job redundanciesprecipitated by technologies. These computerized tools performextensive tasks making many employees redundant hence, loss ofincomes. As such, there are other numerous explanations to thephenomenon but the fact is that these persons simply requireassistance. Some are living with mentally illnesses while others havesimply witnessed fortunes turn out for the worst. The essay projectsthe authors’ use of ethos, appealing to emotions, or anecdotes aswell as refutes emerging opposition on the state of affairs in SanFrancisco and presents a solution to the socially sensitive issue.
Solnitand Gumpert employ ethical appeal by pointing out that the situationdid not exist during the Reagan revolution. Solnit and Gumpert assertthat during Reagan’s presidency, quality of life implied “Theconfidence that you have a place in the world-or a place and theworld” (44). The homeless numbers in the US now tally at 2.2million inmates and estimated 500,000 homeless persons yet in the1980’s there were very few of such persons in the progressivenation (Solnit and Gumpert 44). The homeless are mostly peoplesuffering from mental illness, a condition, which is adequatelymanageable via qualified treatment. Local, state and even federalpolicies leading to the underfunding of mental health programs haveled to the growth of homeless populations (Solnit and Gumpert 45).
Asthe technology boom brought about a flood of well-remunerated workersto San Francisco, a housing crisis emerged where rents ballooned asdid displacement rates and evictions (Solnit and Gumpert 45). Asresidents lost homes and resigned to street life, the resultantoutcomes were new homeless people on the brink of insanity ashomelessness is essentially criminal in the city. These populationsare pushed into areas where the mentally ill and drug users seekrefuge. Among them are veterans of America’s past war engagementssuffering from posttraumatic stress disorders. Because of lostidentities, personal medications, documentations as well as cellphones to criminal elements are unable to acquire requisite treatmentand assistance (Solnit and Gumpert 45).
Onthe other hand, the authors apply pathos strongly thereby, invokinga good degree of sympathy from readers. Housed residents consider thehomeless as vermin. Solnit and Gumpert appeal to people’ssentiments is evident when they posit, “I walk past the unhouseddaily, seeing how they seek to disappear situating themselves behindbig-box stores and alongside industrial sites where they are lesslikely to inspire the housed to call for their removal” (45). Thepolice in San Francisco have killed homeless persons in cold blood inthe recent past signifying the unprecedented differing perceptionsoccurring between the housed and the homeless. The degree ofindifference among the housed is indeed overwhelming as, “Thosewithout houses are too often considered to be problems to peoplerather than people with problems” (Solnit and Gumpert 45).
Theauthor’s usage of logos distinctively points out that for some ofthe homeless, the situation faced has nothing to do with laziness oreven the opinion among the housed that these are people only seekingto take advantage of social services available in the city. Solnitand Gumpert utilize logic when they explain
SiliconValley also leads the way in creating technologies that eliminate aplethora of jobs-toll-takers, sales clerks, inventory, and warehouseworkers and if (Google, Tesla, and Uber have their way) taxi driversand truckers-that might once have been filled by our current homelesspopulation (45).
Thispoint of logic is deeply convincing though most of the housed do notcare to give thought to such important insights. To them, thehomeless rightly deserve to suffer poor quality of life but the truthprevalent on this matter is that those with basic needs are animmensely ignorant people. The authors’ logos in the article alsoprovide that the rich in San Francisco like in other American citiesare calling for lower taxes as well as greater tax incentives. Thesehoused populations manifesting good quality of life treat thehomeless as is from a distant diseased land. Essentially whathappened to the American Natives when European settlers came toAmerica centuries ago seems to be playing over all over again.American society has gotten it all wrong by adopting psychopathictraits. Neither remorse nor empathy for the homeless is a terriblestate of affairs.
Inconclusion, this article generates great awareness as to the adverseoutcomes emanating from technological advances, which are creatingjob losses and policies that disregard the working class to favor taxincentives or the rich. Marginalizing the homeless is no solution,the answer lies in empowering the disadvantaged demography. Byoffering a haven of hope form of shelter as an organization thatpools resources together to also support the homeless towardsself-sufficiency is necessary. This can only work if the policy paperformulated in local, state and federal administrative centers tax therich towards concrete social welfare initiatives. This may have to bein a place with sufficiently affordable real estate like Nevadarather than in a state like California.
Solnit,Rebecca, and Robert Gumpert. “Division Street.” Harper’sMagazine,2016.
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