Saturday, September 03, 2005

if I have to be on a wagon...'s going to be of the "band" variety. In particular, the "outrage" bandwagon.

I'm not a self-hating American. I am a bleeding-heart liberal Bush-basher. It's different.


I am having a real hard time with the reporters and commentators who, upon viewing the aftermath of a hurricane and the very human reaction people are having to being homeless and hungry, proclaim with a touch of horror in their voices that they cannot believe they are seeing this on American soil. This, of course, encompasing the natural disaster, the destruction of a beloved city, and the frightening chaos of human desperation in the aftermath. This happens to darker, poorer countries that have no infrastructures anyway, right? This affects exotic faraway lands, and probably is a direct result of those people not speaking English. Didn't everyone get the memo? This is too common for Americans to have to endure. This happens to Indonesians and Chinese and Africans, not us.

We are Paris Hilton at a Supreme Court ruling, stamping our stiletto in protest; "What do you mean I don't get to vote? Don't you know who I am?!?"

There is a great line from Terry Pratchet or someone that goes, "civilization is only 24 hours and two meals away from utter barbarism." I believe that the average American has no idea what we are supposed to do in times of crisis, or what a relief effort even looks like up close, because for most of us, a crisis involves Starbucks running out of caramel drizzel for our machiattos. I am not surprised that relief efforts have been slow and disorganized. We have resources, but a massive disaster is still a massive disaster, even if it happens on the sacred soil of our forefathers. Imagine how slow and futile relief efforts must be in places without mighty American resources.

We can't just give some lip service to UNICEF, donate five bucks to some unfortunate foreign tragedy and go about our business with this one; we have to actually do something, a lot of continuous something. I think the sensation of actual responsibility is shocking to the American system. Responsibility compounded with the reality that for so many, even our best efforts would not be enough.


  1. I have to preface this by saying that I don't have cable, ergo, I don't know exactly what newsreporters are saying except for what I read on the int0rnets.

    That being said.

    I don't think reporters' outrage and disbeleif neccessarily have to do with "I can't beleive it happened here." I think it more has to do with, "I can't believe it happened here, when we have all of this technology to warn everyone to get out. I can't beleive, in the richest country on this Earth, that people are waiting THREE TO FOUR DAYS for food and releif from our government when we were able to drop food and water to Sri Lanka within TWENTY-FOUR HOURS of their disaster. I can't beleive, four years after 9/11, and the creation of an ENTIRE DEPARTMENT OF GOVERNMENT to deal with situatuations EXACTLY LIKE THESE, we still don't have this coping-with-disasters thing down. I can't believe that our Federal, State, AND local government ALL DROPPED THE BALL when they underfunded prograns like FEMA and failed to push for more funding."

    Although, I am sure that there is a bit of what you're saying going on as well.

  2. As stated (and as you know), I am a bleeding-heart liberal Bush-basher. As such, let us all assume that most things that are being said about the current administration and it's failure to do...well, anything productive, is a foregone conclusion on my part. I'll even quote Kanye West here, "George Bush does not care about black people."

    I am commenting as much on the way the victims are acting in the aftermath as all of that. I am also wondering how usefull a week or two of food drops and a few million dollars have been to the people of Indonesia and Sri Lanka in the long run.

    Oh, and, what? a government department built on propoganda and empty promises has failed in a time of crisis? I would have never expected it! Not in America! Our little political card houses should be stronger than all the forces of nature!!

  3. as we all know i can't be serious i'll just say it is the first strike from the Atlanteans to wash debauchery away. it's all a conspiracy. how retarded to you have to be to think you can just kind ignore a hurricane. i believe i heard some where that people did not think that it was going to be as bad as it ended up being. Katrina gave New Orleans a giant swirlie. showed people how fragile society is. and how totally unprepared we are for natural/other attacks on us. how is that one thought it a stupid idea that a large percentage of our oil refineries are in a hurricane area?

  4. First off, let me say: mmmm. machiatto.

    Secondly: What do you plan to do, besides throw money at the problem? That's what I plan on doing. A good sum too, in fact, it's going to hurt (but not as much as they hurt). But what else can we do? I'm up here. I can't leave my job. The only thing I can do is throw money at them and run away with my fingers in my ears going "lalalalalalala" (like a lot of Americans.)

  5. ah..the power of machiatto...

    yeah, put in my donation to the red cross...and I'll probably put in another one when i get my next paycheck.

    I know that we the people are compassionate and horrified and outraged for real, and there is not much else TO do once you've given your dollars but sit around and be critical. I'm doing it myself. I just can't help but be cynical. It's what I do.

  6. Yeah you're lucky.

    I feel cynical AND guilty. They almost cancel each other out. I'll tell you this, though. I've lost faith in my govenment. It takes something huge to get me to say that.


  7. aww...i sorry.

    *pats u on the back*