The following was an editorial I wrote for my Persuasive Writing class this semester in the Master of Liberal Studies program at Southern Methodist University. It has been slightly edited since the initial assignment.
On any particular day during the month of October, take a DART train towards the colorful, corny-dog-filled splendor of Fair Park. To get to Fair Park during those days that make up the State Fair of Texas, you’ll end up at some point on the Green Line southbound towards Buckner.
On the Green Line, you will with no doubt see families with children wide-eyed with the expectation of a fun day at the fair. You’ll see old friends talking about their many years of attendance of what has come to be known as the largest state fair in the United States. It’s a train car full of excitement and expectations.
After it departs from the Baylor Medical Center station with its glimmering hospital in the foreground, the train will snake its way through overgrown alleyways behind posh loft apartments made out of refurbished warehouses. Among the parking lots of said lofts, you may find polished Audis and possibly domestic cars with fancier-than-average trim packages. As you work towards Fair Park, however, something out of the ordinary catches your glance.
As you look to the left of the car just before the pre-recorded woman announces your arrival to the annual fried food exposition, you see something under a freeway bridge. You see a colony of tents gathered in tight clusters. Some areas have only sleeping bags without the luxury of a cloth ceiling. These are the people of Tent City, a community of homeless that has been a recurrent player in the local press and city politics.
Citizens of Tent City fall asleep and wake to the sound of squeaking train wheels as they struggle with the curve into Fair Park station. Their sleep interrupted by the deafening horn of the Love Bug ride on the midway. The aromas of fried foods probably don’t make it their way, being overpowered by exhaust fumes and waste. These people try to eke out a living while those on the train look and exclaim “There they are!”
City government tells Dallasites that something has to be done to protect these people of Tent City. Their first crusade of assistance involved rousting them out of their temporary abodes under yet another overpass and attempting to re-direct them to the already overcrowded shelters that both the city and private entities struggle to maintain. The city, as if designed to do so, eventually forces these citizens back into the margins. Out of the newsprint. Back under the bridge.
Back on the train, people begin murmuring about what should be done about these down-and-out citizens. This writer has heard a few half-hearted solutions during the first half of this year’s fair. As the festivities have worn on, however, the people of Tent City have moved farther down the overpass or have left altogether. They were roused once again. The reason?
More parking is needed for the fair.