Friday, September 02, 2005

Ok, My Turn

I went and opened my big mouth and posted a comment on another blog, so to be fair, I guess I'd better post here and let that blogger come here and post back. I only hope I didn't blow a good friendship out of the water. I'm sorry if I made you angry.

Just so you all know, here is my position: OMG what a huge devestating disaster. No question, it is shocking and unbelievable and heart-wrenching. I feel so so so horrible for all those people trapped down there in those horrible conditions. I can't imagine it, and I don't want to. I can't help but watch the news and all the images, and even still, I know I have no concept of how really terrible it all is. I want so badly to do something more than just throw money at it. I want to be involved. I want to invite some of those families to come and live with us while they sort out what they are going to do. I want to open my home and my heart to them, because they look so lost and hopeless and I want them to know that people care. But I live so far away, that isn't an option. I have heard that even sending needed goods down there isn't helping because the distribution issues are so difficult. What they need is money, so that is what I will do. But it feels so cold.

I see those people angry and crying and yelling to me through the cameras, thinking that no one cares because they have not been rescued yet. I see their desperation, and I wish there were more we could do. What, I don't know. I have friends who work with disaster relief, so I know a little bit about how difficult it is. It isn't a matter of simply passing out some bottled water and getting busses in and driving them out. This disaster is so huge that the logistics of it are mind-boggling. All that needs to be done, yes, as well as medical needs attended to, immediately. But there is unavoidable disorganization at the beginning, and it just takes time. I am well aware that many of those people don't have time, but that doesn't change what is.

What I am overwhelmed with, beyond the tragedy, is the anger. Not from the victims; that is understandable. They have no tv or radio, or contact at all with the rest of the country. They have no idea how large this disaster is. They know only that they need help, and need it NOW. But the anger from the rest of the country, those who are watching the newscasts and wondering what is being done, and seeing what is not being done, scares me. It is so frustrating to see it all and not be able to do anything. But getting angry to the point that I have been seeing and reading is just such a waste of energy and emotion. I guess when you are filled with such sorrow and frustration, anger is the most common outlet for it, but it hurts to hear it and see it. Please, put that effort into something positive to be done, rather than just throwing blame around, and name-calling. It makes me sad enough to watch the suffering; but sadder still to know that I live in a country so filled with hate.


Peggy said...

I am angry but not to the point of name calling. I am angry that we can set up trama centers in a matter of a couple of hours on 9-ll
but we can't do the same thing in New Orleans. I am angry that people survive a hurricane only to die from dehydration or no medical help. I am a retired lab tech and EMT after working 25 yrs. I know from experience how fast things can be done.... yes I am angry and I know no one that lives in these areas. No one should have to wait days for help... we helped other countries in their disasters faster than we did these victims. I have donated money and I have donated a 3 bedroom home free with utilites to a family that redcross recommended. I am still angry.Our government took too much time.

Chris said...

I assume you are talking to me, unless ofcourse you went around posting on multiple blogs today ;-)

First, let me say that I am not at all angry at you and even if I did disagree, which I'm not sure I do disgaree with you at all, it wouldn't be something that would cause me end a friendship.

Now that that is out of the way :-)

I stand by what I wrote on my blog, which really was intended as nothing more than a quip about the inane things that man says.

I have heard of smaller efforts to help the people... smaller churches taking in smaller numbers of people, families taking in families. People who even did evacuate but now have nothing. That is where I would like help out now.

Still friends?

Gretchen said...

yes, we are still friends :-)

I see what you are saying; some things just really do sound stupid when they come out of his mouth lol. I guess I am just uncomfortable with people getting so angry. I think the problems that we see were inherent in the system long before the disaster arrived. It's in the lack of communications between local and state and federal agencies, it's in the amount of denial on all levels that something like this would ever happen. Getting angry at this point won't help, though it will push people to make a better plan for next time.

We are going to donate to our church's disaster relief agency, which works closely with the Red Cross, and helps with the rebuilding afterwards; but I still wish I could put a more personal face on my contribution.

I am glad to count you as my friend :-)

Peggy said...

No I am not angry with you. I stop by and read your blog (found it from one of my regular blogs I read) Just had had a bad day of seeing so many bodies in the news when these people had survived a flood only to die from like of water or medical help. At least now people are getting help and being treated like the human beings they are.

thirty years in the trenches said...

The problem is this.....the city of New Orleans, which knew for many years that the levees were slowly sinking chose not to be truly concerned from a financial standpoint to make plans for the inevitable. The governor of Louisiana, unlike the governor of Mississippi who called out the National Guard in anticipation of Katrina striking the coast, sat by and did nothing. The mayor of New Orleans, instead of pressing the governor to call out the guard (who could have helped to evacuate the poor, elderly, and disabled) instead relied on what was called "the Good Samaritan Plan" that neighbors would help each other...which in fact was not able to take place because the levees were breeched. Yes, it is heartwrenching to watch what is going is hard to reconcile the fact that we are seeing, here in our own country, what happens in third world countries routinely. But this fact remains, and for those who can't stand the fact that Bush and the Republicans are the majority in the federal government this fact alone remains....namely, this IS a natural catastrophe that no matter how much one was prepared for, the reality was such that there had to be a time to sit back, and analyze what needed to be done before rushing in and doing anything at all. Of course, if you were one of those who had failed to leave (or did not have the means to leave, one minute of wating for help is too long. That being said, however, for the federal government to rush in with no plan would have been disastrous.
What all of us need to do is to try to help in whatever way possible.....sending money, providing goods, maybe being willing to take in a family, provide work, sponsor a child in school or even , if nothing else, offer prayers that people will not give up hope.

tammie said...

I've moved beyond sadness, I'm angry. Angry that our President waited DAYS before visiting this state and when he did, he told the FEMA director what a great job he's doing. Maybe he should ask the refugees sleeping on the overpasses if the FEMA director is doing a great job? I'm angry that there was a parking lot of school buses that sat, flooded, while people who were too poor to leave N.O. died because they could not afford to leave.
Most of all, I'm angry that I live in a country that takes care of it's people based upon what they do and do not have, and blames their desperation on the fact that they are "crooks", "thieves" or "thugs". Go days without a shower, food, clean clothes, water and sleep and see what happens to you. You basically start going crazy, which is what many people in this crisis are doing.
I'm glad SOMEONE is finally doing something for these people, it only took over a week and thousands of them dying to get the help they should have gotten back in August.

Michelle said...

Don't forget that there were hundreds of thousands who did make it out, thanks to weather forecasting. The ones left behind were the poorest people who had no cars and in some cases, no access to evacuation information.

There were also a small number who refused to leave - there always are.

Remember also that these people are the same ones who are dependent on the State and Federal governments on a daily basis. A majority of these people were most likely on the welfare, or SSI roles. So - if you've ever criticized anyone for being on welfare; made a generalization about "wefare queens" or "welfare kings" that's who you want helped in this instance at taxpayer expense.

If you don't support the idea of a total welfare system including one which doesn't require recipients to work; then you should examine how you feel about the poor being left behind.