"Homelessness isn't about lack of affordable housing. It's about drug addicts that want to wander around and live in tents on the sidewalk," said Fox News' Jesse Watters in a recent diatribe.
"You can't coddle antisocial behavior," he smirked, remarkably unaware of the irony of his argument. "You can't subsidize antisocial behavior. You have to stigmatize it. You can't celebrate people with purple hair, with nose rings, four kids with four different men who are dressed like trash, and make them out to be some sort of cutting-edge heroes. You have to call them what they are. These are people that have failed in life, and they're on their deathbed."
Watters' argument is that homelessness isn't a systemic failure, but a mere lifestyle choice, as though people wake up one morning and think, "Ah, what a fine day to live in destitution!" He paints a caricature of the homeless population with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, throwing in stereotypes about purple hair, nose rings, and sartorial choices for good measure. It's the kind of rhetoric that wouldn't seem out of place in a badly written villain's monologue in a B-movie, except it's being aired on national television.
In Watters' world, the homeless aren't victims of circumstance, but architects of their own downfall, undeserving of empathy or assistance. It's a narrative that's as convenient as it is cruel, absolving society of any responsibility to address the issue while scapegoating those who are most affected by it.
By peddling this kind of scaremongering, Watters isn't just being cruelly antisocial; he's actively contributing to the problem.
Fox News host Jesse Watters calls for viewers to "stigmatize" unhoused people:— The Intellectualist (@highbrow_nobrow) November 16, 2023
"You have to call them what they are: These are people that have failed in life and they're on their deathbed."