When I was a child in school and was learning about the Great Depression of the 1930′s, I remember seeing pictures of the shanty towns called “Hoovervilles.” Later on in life, I saw individual homes or shanties while visiting Mexico during a cruise, but I thought I would never see one let alone an entire community here in these United States of America. Well now I have seen one and it is near my home.
If you travel south on Veterans Expressway in Tampa FL, north of the Tampa International Airport and just before the I-275 interchange, look to the right and you will see about 20 shanties with people living in them. ( I apologize for I gave the wrong location in the post previously. It was my mistake and I hope it did not cause any difficulty in finding it.) I have attached the picture I took with my cell phone but it doesn’t capture the entire place which is much bigger. Note the old tires on the roofs to help keep them seated during high winds.
I do feel that we are in the beginnings of the “Greatest Depression” and that it started in 2007. Some have argued that it is not true and they point out there are no soup kitchens, etc. as we see in old pictures from the last depression. But, we are better at hiding our poor and downtrodden than before and much better at ignoring it. Soup kitchens have been replaced by food stamps with over 10% of our population on them, and the “hobos” of today are now regulated to patches of woods and homeless camps well out of most people’s chosen view.
I live in an affluent neighborhood, but my block alone has two homeless camps in small patches of woods and though most of my neighbors choose to ignore it, I can’t. Now, in plain view in Tampa Florida, I have seen and photographed my first “Obamaville.” It’s getting harder to ignore and to pretend you just don’t see it.
Update: A good friend who I respect highly took exception to this post and wrote me some of her thoughts.
These communities have been in existence since biblical times and if you travel much, these communes exists all over. I saw my first one in Georgia back in the 70′s. It has nothing more contributed to Obama than any other President.
She may have a point, and since I have not lived as long as she has nor traveled as much, she may be right. I do recall that some historians thought that “Hoovervilles” were unfair to President Hoover because the economy was already slipping badly before he took office. But, in politics, whenever a great event happens, no matter how many years of previous work went into it and no matter who did it, the current President always wants to take credit for it. There is also a flip side to that. When bad things happen, the current President gets the blame even if it’s not his fault, hence Hoovervilles and Obamavilles. No matter who is in office, it is disturbing to see such a shantytown within view of affluent downtown Tampa Florida.
Update #2: There seems to be quite of bit of places throughout these United States that have been given the name of “Obamaville.” You can find them all on Google. Though the mainstream media, surprisingly including the Drudge Report doesn’t seem to want to cover them (maybe not enough people have submitted it to Drudge?), the internet is full of pictures and stories.
Update #3: 09/01/2011 Drove by the site of the Obamaville a couple days ago. It has all been torn down and is now gone. I do not know what happened to the people living there.