Sunday, September 04, 2005

Survival of the Fittest is Not a Policy

That is the homemade sign presently located on the bumper of my car. Because I truly feel New Orleans' pain. I live in a city of approximately the same size, with approximately the same racial makeup and an African American mayor. I know what it is like to be mocked, scorned, ignored, powerless. We have lived for hundreds of years under the auspices of the federal government with very little stake in our own future because we lacked the power and authority, both budgetary and legal, to do anything for ourselves.

Now, belatedly, we see the federal government attempting to step in in New Orleans because "the locals" (i.e. Crackers, African Americans, Latinos) couldn't do it. How familiar, and how heartwrenching. As though the mayor and the governor didn't plead for money and supplies and assistance BEFORE the disaster even hit. And as though the real reason for the government stepping in at this late hour ISN'T to cover their asses, keep the media out, etc. Bush spokesman Dan Bartlett was quoted as saying something to the effect of "the US government stands ready to protect the citizens of New Orleans." This would be laughable if it weren't so tragic. These people are so hopelessly out of touch they might as well be living on the moon.

The three greatest potential disasters that were feared by the feds were: 1) a flood in New Orleans 2) attacks on the World Trade Center and 3) major earthquakes in California. If I lived in the Golden State, I'd be seriously considering my options right about now.

As for the impotent rage I, like so many others, feel right now, well I am not going to stand quietly by. I am donating what I can locally (DC is set to receive several thousand victims in the next day or two), and will be traveling with a group of Springsteen fans to New Orleans at Thanksgiving in order to help with the relief efforts through Second Harvest Food Bank. This is not bragging--I know that people of conscience are already doing what they can. People are handling this tragedy in their own ways, and not everyone is in a position to drop everything and help. But Americans are fundamentally good, giving people, and I know they will help their desperate brothers and sisters to the extent that they can.

As for the Bush administration, there is not a sorrier group of people on the face of the earth. They are all truly sociopathic, and I have nothing but pity for them. Well, pity and disgust.

At times like this, it's hard to believe we're living in America. What has happened to us? Is this how we care for our weak, our infirm, "the least of our brothers?" And what must the foreign press be saying right now? (Sure would be nice to have the help of Germany, France, Spain, now wouldn't it? Too bad we've already alienated most of our allies with this ridiculous war of aggression...) The whole world is watching and judging, and what they will have to say will most definitely not be pleasant...

"Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers that you do unto me."

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