Sunday, September 04, 2005

The silence of good people.

I usually do not write in this blog with politics in mind. Why because I feel like there are better writers who do that sort of thing. Instead I look at my blog as a place where I can write about my own work and challenges, and hopefully people can relate with that. But today, I feel like I have to say something about the madness sprouting up around us.

Like everyone in this world watching the drama unfold on TV in New Orleans my heart is so heavy. I wish there was some way I could go there and save the people who have been forgotten by the government. Sure today they are starting to get some relief but for 4 to 5 days after the Hurricane hit, no one had done nothing.

The head of FEMA is an idiot, or a liar. I’m not sure what’s worse. Earlier in the week he said the victims where to blame for no evacuating. Basically blaming them for being poor. Today I read Homeland Security Secretary (Micheal Chertoff ) saying there was “no plan for this,…. (the storm was) breathtaking in its surprise." He is one of the few surprised. I’m not in the business of managing disaster relief and I knew this was inevitable. The folks in the know in New Orleans have been predicting it for years. Every indication is that the government should have known this was possible. I do not fault any one administration with not having taken this seriously. The work on the levies should have been done decades ago. What I fault them for is not having a viable evacuation plan, for not being prepared to help those left behind, for treating it like it was no big deal.

Why did it take so long to get help to the area? Because we have the National Guard dieing in Iraq, instead of being in place to help the survivors. These destitute people don’t matter though. There are poor, and mostly black, so therefore undeserving of our help or sympathy. Meanwhile President Bush has Airforce One do a fly by so he can look down at the devastation. It takes him 3 days to get there, after being shamed into action by the Mayor of New Orleans. But this is what America asked for when they reelected this failed oil-man back into the presidency. If his past record is any indication, the president will give the director of FEMA a promotion. Because that’s what this President does. There is no accountability. The buck stops nowhere, and Americans are okay with it, as long as they get their dose of electronic Novocain in the form of Brittany Spears, Jessica Simpson, or Jen and Brad’s divorce.

Debating in 2000, Bush said his favorite political adviser was Jesus. If that is so, then the Jesus I know and believe in is weeping. Jesus was one of the all time great advocates for the poor. When do the policies of this administration benefit the poor? Where is the concept of “turning the other cheek”? Does “Bring’em on” sound like turning the other cheek? It sounds more like the click of a clip being forced in an automatic weapon. African American clergy, helped get Bush reelected based primarily on his staunch objection to peoples sexual behavior. But now we see what he truly thinks of them by his inaction.

In this bizarro world, people fighting for survival are looters. With no help from the government, and lawlessness taking grip, people did what they had to, to survive. I got an e-mail from a friend (a very cool individual,) but a quote from the article he sent me said: "Not a single tourist caught in the tsunami was mugged. Now with all this happening in the U.S. we can easily see where the civilized part of the world's population is.” That is an affront to Black people, and is exactly what many people feel in their hearts, that we are animals. The economic, social, and cultural aspects of Asia are very different from New Orleans. They have their own issues there, very different of those in the inner-cities in America. Our streets are flooded with drugs, guns, and hopelessness. Why because someone is making money off it, and it’s not the people in these neighborhoods. One would be na├»ve to think there isn’t someone somewhere in power, benefiting off of these people’s pain. It’s capitalism at it’s ugliest. These are the ingredients for the perfect storm. Not Katrina’s level four, but the decay of our culture into this gun obsessed, drug saturated, loveless mess. In every bad situation there are a few who are going to cause problems. Human nature unavoidable, but on a whole the people are struggling to survive, wouldn’t you?

These people have been left to die because no one thought they were worthy of being evacuated before the storm hit. Most of the people that stayed behind, stayed because they had no other choice. They couldn’t rent a car, they didn’t have a car themselves. No money for plane, train, or bus tickets. Nothing. So they stay and watch their lives be washed away. Meanwhile the rest of the world sits in judgment of them. Next week, or next month, or sometime in the future, President Bush will praise the relief efforts, FEMA, and anyone else he owes for their “tireless efforts” and America will forget all about this tragedy. We will move on to mourn the death of William Renquist, but who will mourn the hundreds of little babies, old people, and “worthless looters” who lost their lives not to Katrina’s deadly winds and waters, but to government inaction. Adlai Stevenson once said, “You always get the government you deserve.” But today in the flooded ruins of New Orleans, as poor people struggle to make it to the next day it is apparent they deserved better then this.

3 comments:

Angelica said...

I went on-line tonight to learn a little more about your art. I finally saw some old episodes of "Def Poetry" and I can't get your "The Ball The Rim and Him" out of my mind. All I was hoping to find was maybe somemore of your work. And here I am reading your ideas of the tragedy in our country. Something I as a highschool senior am putting as much power into as I can. I'm a 17 year old girl in San Francisco. Our school church is going to be host to about 300 survivors from New Orleans, and my mind has been it's own hurricane of thoughts and pain and frustration. Once again your words have affected me, on more than a "wow thats cool" level. I have a lot of thoughts parralel to yours, and it gives one hope to read that sol individuals see more clearly and do still care. I wanted to firstly thank you for your poetry, and secondly say I agree. God bless.

Watershedd said...

Hello, Al. I went looking for a quote, that one by Luther King about the silence of the good people ad wound up here ... four years after New Orleans. I'm looking for the quote to use on my own blog and in my own discussions with those in my life to explain why I love the man in my life and why I support him. He is not silent and it costs him, has costed him his entire life.

Well done for speaking up at the time about what was afflicting those in your part of the world. It's not easy, it's scary and it's potentially marginalising. I'm trying to do the same through my own blog and soon, another that will focus simply upon the issues that form a strong undercurrent in the place I call home.

I'll have to take a look at your blog more deeply, when I've more time. Hope you're still going!

Watershedd said...

Hello, Al. I went looking for a quote, that one by Luther King about the silence of the good people ad wound up here ... four years after New Orleans. I'm looking for the quote to use on my own blog and in my own discussions with those in my life to explain why I love the man in my life and why I support him. He is not silent and it costs him, has costed him his entire life.

Well done for speaking up at the time about what was afflicting those in your part of the world. It's not easy, it's scary and it's potentially marginalising. I'm trying to do the same through my own blog and soon, another that will focus simply upon the issues that form a strong undercurrent in the place I call home.

I'll have to take a look at your blog more deeply, when I've more time. Hope you're still going!