I'm writing this three hours after watching the evening news programs - hoping, thinking I would calm down enough to journal something thoughtful and uplifting. Nope. Can't. I cried and ached so much during those newscasts. Who wouldn't? Thousands and thousands of people abandoned (yes, abandoned) in the worst imaginable circumstances - right before our eyes! This is New Orleans, for God's sake, not some podunk place on the other side of the world or a backwater (no pun intended) rural spot in the heartland. New Orleans is a metropolis! Despite the natural catastrophe that has befallen it, there are ways in and ways out (I have this on first-hand authority). What in the hell is taking so long? Huh? What?
I heard (on NPR) and saw (NBC) that puny excuse of a Homeland Security Director Chertoff make excuse after excuse. "Oooh. Boo-hoo! Natural disaster! 90,000 square miles." (How big is Iraq, I wonder?) Obviously, if color-coded Homeland Security can't evacuate a major city and/or get basic food, water, and medicine to stranded people - what the hell are they good for? Homeland what-did-you-say? Where are the National Guard? Why weren't they in there Saturday? Sunday? Monday? And the FEMA guy is a joke. Completely clueless. (Bring back James Lee Witt, or whatever the guy's name was that dealt with the flooding in the mid-90s.)
People are dying. Dying! Charity Hospital - um, think anybody can help 'em out? Babies, children, old folks, sick folks, sick-and-tired folks. This is the best the mighty United States of America can do? Why on earth would any other country on the face of the earth trust us to save them, bring them "democracy," when we can't help our own? Yup. Be right there. Let us just get this stuff organized. Hang on. Be patient. Patient, my ass. Patient this, oh mighty leader sitting in your comfy air-conditioned, water-food-bathroom whenever you want them environment. (And that goes for you, too, Congress - all of you!)
Worse (and most sinful) are those people who blame the victims. "They should have left. It's their own fault." "New Orleans was a sinful place and it was God's will that it be destroyed." "Shoot all the looters."
Please - let me tell you about "looting mentality," the white-folks kind. Yesterday in Atlanta we had a run on gas. Long lines formed throughout the day at gas stations and many stations ran out. And though most people were patient, lots of ugly incidents happened as people jockeyed for position in their air-conditioned cars trying to get home in time for dinner. I know and you know that if they'd been stuck there for three or four days, cars out of gas and no way to get home, no food, no water - but mainly, no gas - honey, these lily-white suburbanites would've been lootin' and shootin', believe you me.
No, I don't condone lawlessness and looting, but boy - who knows what we're capable of in 100+ degree weather, 95% humidity, without the very basic necessities. I suspect a little lootin' might give us a bit of satisfaction. I hope not, but maybe it would. Don't know. Don't want to find out.
What is happening to New Orleans un-Christian, un-American, and un-Human. (OK, I know the term is "inhumane," but I was going with the flow, there.) And I only mention un-Christian because a) I am one, and b) I get tired of the "Christians" being so un-Christian. I know that miracles are happening and many, many good people are doing God-like deeds, but too many people are losing or have lost hope. Once that's gone, nothing.
Give. Pray. May God have mercy on our souls.
Anyway, I've added some good New Orleans/Katrina blogs to my link list on the left. Check out: Humid City, NOLA View, Metroblogging New Orleans and CJ Experience. Lots of good first-hand experiences, plus lists of missing people/found people (in case you're looking).
(Wonder what kind of trouble I'm going to get into for calling the Director of Homeland Security a "puny excuse"? I actually meant to call him a "puny weasel." Uh-oh.)