At dinner on Sunday night, Chad proposed this toast. That was the night before Katrina came a-calling, and we had no idea, lifting our glasses of cabernet and chiming “Here-here,” how prescient those words would prove to be. (We weren’t being flippant, by the way…gallows humor runs wide and deep in that tender-hearted circle of friends. I bet funeral sex does, too…I’ll have to ask. Something about staring down death and kicking fear in the teeth. No, not flippant at all.)
For New Orleans, I believe, can no longer be called a city. It has been suggested that successful cities can be identified by three elements: a city needs to have good thinkers, good makers, or good traders. Per the news reports I’ve been reading and the pictures I’ve been seeing, I’m gonna go with a no on all three. What in the hell?? Here are a few things, outside of the general devastation and loss of life, that are really weighing on me:
1. Put the gun down. Why are you firing your guns at people like my brother who are trying to help? Yes, the government is evil and stupid (hyperbole alert), but do you really think shooting my brother out of his helicopter is going to make your point, or save your family for that matter? I feel extreme pity for your situation – EXTREME pity. But please don’t shoot at my brother, or you will test the limits of that sympathy.
2. Mainstream media is going to flush any progress made in racial reconciliation right down the pooper. Today I saw a picture of a white woman carrying groceries over her head with the caption “A woman makes her way home after finding a grocery store” and a while later, a picture of a black woman carrying groceries over her head with the caption “A looter carries stolen goods.” Now, maybe the white woman paid for her goods fair and square and maybe the black woman robbed a grocery store to sell the booty to feed her baby-daddy’s habit. I don’t know. But are you really gonna tell me that there are no white looters going to town down there? Gimme a break.
4. There are many thoughts swirling around in my head contrasting the emergency response to this disaster with that of September 11. These thoughts are still amorphous and hard to pin down, but it’s crazy how freakin’ different the scenarios are turning out to be. Is it because these people are mostly poor? Is it because our resources are stretched too thin? Is it because we don’t trust our government anymore? I don’t know. What I do know is my long-held suspicion (left over from The X-Files days) that FEMA controls the universe has been ground to dust. Unless looking like they don’t have their sh*t together is another FEMA conspiracy.
May God have mercy on us all.