October 21st, 2006, originally published online at A View of the Street
(written when DuPay was a co-host on the Cable Access program Cannibis Common Sense)
I sometimes use my position on television as a bully pulpit to help folks see what needs to be done in the community. And this editorial is about doing the right thing.
When someone you know needs help, what goes through your mind? A dozen reasons why it would not be convenient for you? Like helping the person might put you out, might cost you money. If the person is temporarily homeless and needs a place to stay, would you offer shelter? Or would it be an interruption to your routine? When you see a shabby appearing person asking for money in front of the super market, do you look the other way, avoid eye contact or step aside? How about the homeless person laying in the door way you pass every day. Have you ever stopped to see if you could help?
Why is our first reaction to a request for help, even if the request is a SILENT look, a negative reaction?
NOT ME! DON'T LOOK AT ME! DON'T ASK ME!
Could it be because we see ourselves in that person? You already know your life and circumstance can change in a heartbeat. Ten minutes of the evening news will show you that. So...that person asking for help could be you or one of your family and if it WAS you or YOURS, would you want the prosperous person passing by to say "NOT ME! DON'T LOOK AT ME! DON'T ASK ME! GET A JOB!"
......No...you would want them to help you and not think you were a bum, an addict, a slackard, or disgusting.
As I grow inevitably older, I hope I grow wiser too. There is so much human need in a world of evil. I have always been drawn to helping people. As a young policeman I honestly thought if I put enough bad guys in jail I could make the world a better place. I realized only later that the bad guys were the cops. I left when I would no longer get around, under or over the corruption and murders.
As a cop I saw a lot of homeless people and the homeless have my heart and my voice more than any other. I spent 6 years managing a homeless shelter and I made a difference in a lot of lives.
I ran for Sheriff of Multnomah County because I knew I could have made a huge difference and helped a lot more folks.
There should not be any politicians. Just public servants doing the right thing for the people. When you are asked for help, say "Yes." Say "yes" to yourself because in a very real sense that person IS you. It is not about being a Christian or a Buddhist or a Mormon, it's about doing the right thing.
Remember, a gun shot, a car crash, a missed heart beat and I
could be standing in front of my maker. And when I'm there I'd like to
be able to say, "I helped as many people as I could as long as I could
until you called me here, and Sir, of Madam, I hope you can help me
By Don DuPay
ABSOLUTELY NO PORTION OF THIS EDITORIAL MAY BE REPRODUCED OR DISSEMINATED WITHOUT EXPRESS PERMISSION FROM THE AUTHOR, DONALD LEE DUPAY, UNDER PENALTY OF COPYRIGHT LAWS!!