Sunday, September 04, 2005

Reactions to Katrina have been mixed.
Some have worked hard to provide help to those trapped in New Orleans. At the other extreme are those who have worked equally hard to scam people over the Internet, or to rob, rape, and murder their fellow New Orleaners.
In the middle are perhaps the worst of all - the indifferent. The people who watch the rescues for ten minutes on CNN, then switch to the ball game or a CSI-Miami rerun. The people summed up by an acquaintance who, seeing the images of a damaged Dome and hundreds fouling the forty-yard line, had nothing to say but "I guess the Saints will be playing somewhere else this year, huh." Indeed.
I find myself among this group, unfortunately. I have spent the last couple of days examining my feelings, as to why I can't muster much care for my fellow man. I haven't found much.
1) Upbringing. My parents kept away from neighbor's, only contributed to church functions, and never gave to a cause they didn't intend to get back. My mother stopped contributing to a charity we'd been giving to for 20 years, because they were unable to contribute anything to my Dad's care when he got cancer.
2) Financial state. I have $800 mortgage payments every month, $315 car payments, and sundry other bills. Any mention of charities to my wife are met with a huge snort. She wants a screen door and a central vacuum. She doesn't know anyone in New Orleans. And she's a Packers fan.
3) Expectations from Government. I pay taxes. Lots of them. Despite scandals, pork, and waste, I still have my hard earned cash dragged out of me for taxes. I want something back, and disaster relief is one of those things. The Federal government is supposed to connect and co-ordinate the efforts of The States. A huge multi-State effort like this is exactly what they should be doing. So why should I pay twice?

And, loath though I am to admit it,
4) SEP. Someone else's problem. None of my friends and family live down there, own property down there, or know anyone down there. Most of us probably feel the same way, whether we blog about it or not. Admit it - when you first heard that the city flooded, did you mourn anything other than the loss of Bourbon Street and this year's Mardi Gras? Did you even KNOW about the thousands of urban poor who lived there, who were trapped there? Probably not.

Tell me. If Katrina 2 we're to hit your home city, are there any poor neighborhoods that would end up being airlifted out, like the poor of New Orleans?
And do you suppose they could use our help NOW?
And are you GOING to help them, even though Bush isn't likely to give them anything unless a class five storm focuses the media's attention on them and forces his hand?

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