Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Wednesday's Weeping

It's another hot, sticky day here in Podunt. As hot as it is I know I have so much to be thankful for. I know in the past I've been rather flippant about hurricanes and even chatted up how much I love the wind and rain they bring our way. Never again will I see things with such levity and such a glib attitude.
They call it the Redneck Riviera, but it's MY south. I've spent many a happy hour in "that incredibly grubby, sweaty and unbelievably gorgeous & beautiful city", called New Orleans. Now, I sit stunned, in tears as I watch her slowly being drowned. There for a few brief hours after the storm passed, it appeared the city herself had been spared. Then, the levies begin to break. And the gradual destruction of our nations 35th largest city began. So many people are losing everything. Their homes, their possessions, lifetimes of memories gone. Their jobs, their cars, all gone. And nowhere to go. When your poor, which most of New Orleans poplulation is, you can't afford hotels. Even if you could, how do you get there?
And what of their pets? Can you imagine having to leave your precious animals behind? When you live in a city, have no car, and your told 'you can't bring your animals' to the shelters, what do you do? The helplessness of knowing their fate is out of your hands. The gut wrenching feeling of having to choose between their life and your own. Which might explain some of why so many stayed behind.
How do you begin to rebuild your life? And where?
Then there's Biloxi, and Gulfport, and all the small communities along the coast. Wiped out. My daughter-in-law Amie's entire family is from Gulfport. Fortunately they all evacuated and got out safely. But what will they have to go back to? When will they be able to even go home to what is left of their homes? Their lives?
My heart and my mind cries out WHY? But there are no answers. There is no evil terrorist to blame this on. No one to hunt down and punish. No one to blame. It simply is what it is.
I know I should be thankful that the loss of life wasn't any greater. And I am. But we may not know the true toll for weeks to come.
Last night I heard this man on one of the news programs make the comment that he didn't think tax dollars should be used in the cleanup and assisting of the victims of these hurricanes. His theory is, if you choose to build and live in these high risk areas you do so at your own risk, why should tax monies be used to help you offset your losses? I wanted to scream at him, because that's what we do! We parade ourselves all over the world 'helping' everybody else, why shouldn't we help our own. And speaking of helping, why aren't other nations pitching in and sending help our way? We sent billions of dollars to help out in Thailand. We're in the middle of a damned war for Pete's sake, trying to 'help' other's out. Where's the helping hand when we need one? As I sit and watch the devastation as it plays out before me I can help but think, it's time this country started looking inward. It's time we start taking care of our own, and let the rest of the world do the same. Because folks they damned sure aren't coming to OUR rescue.
If I sound bitter, angry and disillusioned, that's because I am. I am so sick of our government being more concerned with 'worldly affairs' while we here at home struggle to survive. My heart goes out to the people of the world. I know there is much pain and anguish out there. But right now, I believe we need to step back, and do some home maintenance. The billions of dollars we are spending throughout the world can be well used right here at home. One only need turn on the television and see the devastation along the Gulf Coast to understand that.

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