Pit Bulls, Mama Bears and Fire-Breathing Dragons, Oh My!
Most who know and love Pat LaMarche would never consider her fierce, but if you’re a “peep,” as she fondly labels those who have no home, no money and not much
going for them, and you’re in trouble, you’d want Pat LaMarche on your side. She transforms into a rabid pit bull, protective mama bear, and fire-breathing dragon all wrapped into one.
Pat LaMarche and I are, to some extent, similar political animals (pit bulls, bears and dragons). I seriously considered running for Congress against Denny Hastert before he ended up as the Speaker of the House back in the late 90s. Pat did run for office, the 2nd highest in the land, Vice President, as Green Party candidate in 2004. And she ran for Maine’s Governor too.
We met when I guffawed over her column, humorously chiding Sarah Palin for writing debate answers on her hand. I got to the end and noticed “Pat LaMarche, author of Left Out In America: The State of Homelessness in the U.S.” and her email address. I sent a message saying how I enjoyed her writing. She thanked me.
I think I asked about her book, and found out she ran a shelter not far from DC, where I was headed. We agreed to meet. We connected at a state park and she interviewed me for her next column. The rest was history. (OK, I’m a sucker for someone who says nice things about me!)
Pat is passionate about righting the incessant wrongs of the have-nots, advocating for systemic change. Yeah, we both know it’s like pushing boulders uphill, or up-mountain as is the case now. But we know “our side” won’t ever get any better if we leave things to the powers-that-be, no matter the party.
Two years ago we did a 2-week Southern (dis)Comfort tour, using every opportunity to remind folks in the southern states that poverty and homelessness is, well, uncomfortable to say the least. Pat passed the test of “Tillie travel,” sharing my small space, a challenge only a few achieve. Tillie, the goofy name I dubbed my
motorhome, is officially Tillie the Turtle, a slow-moving creature that picks up and moves, lock, stock and barrel.
Let me not forget to introduce another non-traveling but essential member of our team, Mary Parks, our extraordinarily talented graphic artist and techie, not to mention a tremendously smart and nice young woman. Mary is the glue that keeps us crazy travelers together. She creates images that convey our message, solves our user-caused tech issues, and works quickly and effortlessly.
This 5,000-mile southwestern journey is not a joy ride. We’re both determined to throw our every breath into making sure lots more folks know about our nation’s unacceptably huge crisis of invisible homeless families and youth. We’ll do whatever possible to inspire a “compassion epidemic” (for more on this check our HEAR US website). We’ll listen to and chronicle stories shared with us by homeless children, youth and adults. We’ll share ideas, offer encouragement, and hopefully attract media attention to this little-reported debacle.
The one thing you can take to the bank, er, credit union, is to know we’ll insist that solutions to homelessness, and poverty for that matter, require a drastic change of policy and priorities of our federal, state and local governments. And, be warned, one thing worse than a rabid pit bull, protective mama bear, and fire-breathing dragon is two rabid pit bulls, protective mama bears and fire-breathing dragons, aka Babes of Wrath.
Follow/LIKE our adventures on Facebook, EPIC Journey, and LIKE Pat’s e-book Left Out In America Facebook page to get a free download, a time-limited promo happening very soon. To support our journey, visit our Babes of Wrath donation site.