David Meets Goliath, Money, Power and Living Tiny

RV and Bike Photo

Everyone kept telling me “OMG, you’ve gotta see the latest John Oliver show!” Then someone sent me the YouTube link, posted below. I wrote this post before I left, and sitting in a Canadian coffee shop listening to some locals have strong political opinions (very different than mine) where I finally joined the conversation just to break up the narrative and throw some food for thought about what it’s like to live at the Mexican border from someone who actually lives near it…. made me realize I never posted my one political post. I know folks hate politics but hey… politics are in every part of our lives even Airstreaming. So… here the post is… late and out of order. 🙂

Watching it made me think about everything goin on right now. The opioids addiction crisis and the fight with “Big Pharma” as well as the challenges in getting descent affordable health care, the toxic work environment narratives where fights between big management and the little worker are showing a push back and growth in union membership all have something in common. Our attempt to hang on to the little collective voice we still have is indicative of the times The homeless and housing crisis, the fight over what constitutes real food or who decides what women do with their bodies and the tiny movement as a response to everything going on are all related. In all cases we’re talking about who has the power. Yes, there’s power in big money, but sometimes we forget there’s also power in numbers. And we may hate politics and want nothing to do with it, but it definitely is not leaving us alone in any segment of our society, including living tiny. And of course, because living tiny is a powerful political statement and action that challenges the very core of who we say we are as Americans.

Yes, Mr. Oliver’s show is about mobile homes. No, I don’t live in a mobile home. I live in a high end trailer that I have privilege in that I can move  it at any time, and that will likely always have good resale if I choose to go back to a sticks and bricks lifestyle. I have privilege in that I am not stuck living in one park. And I am super creative, smart and resourceful as to the multitude of options that I have. That said, I believe and injury to one is an injury to all. As the end to my sort of permanent stay in my RV park approaches and I feel a shift to the excitement of hitting the open road, adventure and travel across the continent, I also am aware that that original dream of living in a tiny house on some property is a dream shared by many that is under attack by the wealthiest in our country. All of the topics mentioned above have that in common. It seems that many of the wealthiest in our country are hung up on having more with no moral compass for when enough is enough. They want more money, and more power. Maybe it all fits under the umbrella of addiction? There is an addiction to money and power and possibly we are witnessing it in all aspects of life, even this nomad RV travel adventure life as parking becomes less and less available.

The past owners of my park did not own the land. They owned the business. They had a forty year contract. We loved them. Their employees, who have worked here forever, made you feel like you were home when you drove in. These owners had to go back to bid to keep their business this year and went for a twenty year contract. Another large company beat them out. When this company held informational meetings for the current residents they said with a smile on their face, “Well you know, we are in the business of making money.” They do not believe RV’s and trailers should be allowed as full time residents, really because they know they can make money on forcing the industry to only provide opportunities for vacation travel, and no parking for long term residents.

The entire moral movement of the tiny house movement is to have a smaller footprint on our planet, to share the wealth, promoting the idea there is plenty to go around for all. What I’m seeing in my park is no different than what John Oliver talks about in his video post about the wealthy using the poor to make more money. The narrative of weather tiny houses should be built to solve the housing crisis, or house the addict or mentally ill, the discussions around how someone in an RV establishes permanent residence and whether or not they are able to get a permanent ID which allows them to vote, or whether they should be allowed to park in someone’s back yard, are not the questions that should be asked. Tiny houses, RV’s, trailer life is not just for the disenfranchised.  Anyone should be allowed to live in a way that supports everyone in the community having resources rather than a small few. The questions that should be asked are who benefits from all of the different rules and regulations, restrictions, permits, lack of allowing permits, lack of parking land? Why does anyone care if someone wants to live in a tiny house, and RV or anything else? Even though John talks about Mobile homes, I think what he uncovers applies to a broader stroke of types of homes including my Airstream.

Yes, I have the privilege to go anywhere, but an injury to one is an injury to all, and I refuse to allow folks to squash the rights of others trying to live simply, or silence the voice of anyone who wants to have a voice, or squish out anyone trying to have a more positive environmental impact on our planet. If they come for the mobile home parks, who is to say they won’t come for us next. Will they attack our right to park on BLM lands next?

I for one plan to stay educated, share what I know and if need be organize as all of these topics have touched my life and all can make a difference on the bigger picture of bringing the power back to the regular folks.

John Oliver’s You Tube video on Mobile Home Parks and Big Investors:


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