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Look. I get it. The vast majority of Americans see the Gulf States as the home of the Stupid People. The folks that say 'Merika. Bible belt, sister fucking, barefoot on dirty road morons. And hey, thanks for that generalization, by the way. Because I see everyone from the East Coast as a soulless, hateful, mafioso, and all of you West Coasters are crystal-loving, pot smoking hippies. Oh, wait, I don't think that. I get that a lot of these boards discussing the current oil disaster are filled with people that see all of the current horror as a theoretical discussion where it's this nebulous, far away place filled with people you don't like much, anyway.

But this is OUR HOME. This is where the food I feed my family comes from, for starters. There is a huge population of people that have relied on the waters to feed THEIR families and have never turned to the government for help, and now 80% of the fishermen (Vietnamese-Americans, mostly people who fled the war in the 60s and set up for a "better life" here) are devastated that they now HAVE to turn to the government for help. And guess how that affects everyone in the US? Let's not even discuss the horror show that is the marine life of the Gulf. Dolphins are washing up, bloated sacks of oil. They have literally become bags of oil. It's horrifying.

And I swear to the god of your choice, next time I see someone talk in theoretical terms and toss around ideas like "regulation won't change anything" I might have to choke someone. My husband worked in the O&G industry for a few years, my ex-husband's family was an oil family, and LET ME TELL YOU HOW THINGS CHANGED BECAUSE OF DEREGULATION. Because it's not good. And there are LOADS of suicides among oil workers, did you know that? No, you didn't, because they clamp that shit down. But it's pretty much known that you have to keep an eye on roughnecks after a certain period. Because they just... lose it. Those floating rigs are PALACES now to give those guys some kind of semblance of life while they're out there at sea.

I try to keep it light and playful around here for the most part, because we all have crap in our lives that bring us down. But PLEASE. If you're one of the types of folks that automatically writes off this region as filled with Bible Thumping, Incestuous Dummies, please remember THAT I LIVE HERE. And regardless of a person's outward appearance, we're HUMANS. Every goddamn one of us matters. Every freaking ANIMAL down here matters. Please. Stop insulting us with casual hand waves of stereotypical definitions. PLEASE. That kind of thinking led to Louisiana being left to its own devices and look where that got us!

Gulf Clean is an online forum for inventors to devise and share ways to clean up faster. They're awesome. Also, Wildlife Emergency is accepting donations to help catch animals and either clean them/give aid, or capture them and move them out of harm's way. They are also awesome.

In happier news, the BFF is flying in later to spend the weekend with us, then she and I and the kids are driving to FLAHrida (along the coast line, buying up anything being sold on roadside stands because it's now a lot of people's only source of income) to spend a week with the horses and to manatee watch/help in Wakulla Springs. The hope is that the oil spill won't get inside the river, and that's where the manatees will be hiding, waiting out this disaster. We'll be looking for ways to further assist in the disaster, too. I think it's going to be a great eye opener for my kids.

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. See y'all in a week, be safe and good to each other!

Comments

( 47 comments — Leave a comment )
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enigmaticblues
Jun. 4th, 2010 03:45 pm (UTC)
My dad works in the natural gas business, and he worked the oil fields when I was younger. My grandpa did the same, and I worked as an admin for a couple of years for a large energy company to pay my bills during grad school. And now my dad is the director of codes and standards for this large natural gas company. I know exactly how hard those guys work to ignore regulations--which is why we need more of them, and we need better enforcement. When something goes wrong, either in the oil or natural gas business, people and animals die. It becomes a fucking disaster.

This whole thing with BP is a clusterfuck, and it just hurts my heart.
dampersnspoons
Jun. 4th, 2010 03:54 pm (UTC)
It doesn't appear that Gulf Clean is accepting donations (I clicked everywhere) but rather posting sponsors that are helping them financially. However, they do post links on how you can help with your hands and brains. :D

National Wildlife, is however, accepting cash/paypal/credit card donations.

Also, you might bookmark this list of charities helping with the oil spill. I know the american bird conservatory has been making the most public cries for help (at least that I've seen online lately) and seem to be doing loads of good.

http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=1066
dampersnspoons
Jun. 4th, 2010 03:56 pm (UTC)
Also, when I say "loads of good", that's obviously subjective because well, there's no way they can fix this overnight.
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roq
Jun. 4th, 2010 04:21 pm (UTC)
Matter of Trust is taking hair and pet fur to help clean up the mess.
gabzilla
Jun. 4th, 2010 04:22 pm (UTC)
It's heartbreaking and so hard to watch the news.. I heard something about the oil could travel around Florida and up the east coast, and I had to wonder if my not yet 2 year old son will remember going to the beach and chasing seagulls back when it was still clean. It's so depressing. God, I hope that something good happens soon.
stoney321
Jun. 4th, 2010 04:50 pm (UTC)
Oil will be washing up on British Shores (back to BP) by day 83, according to NOAA.
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entrenous88
Jun. 4th, 2010 04:28 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry you've had to encounter views so thoughtless and callous about this terrible situation. *hugs*
stoney321
Jun. 4th, 2010 04:51 pm (UTC)
It's just... WOW. How about we focus on the problem and not use this as an opportunity to denigrate a region? Aside from the fact that the earth belongs to ALL of us? :(
ladycyndra
Jun. 4th, 2010 04:32 pm (UTC)
*applauds* Thank you for writing this. Just for the record, I've never thumped ANYONE with the bible EVER! Southern stereotypes make me sad.
chantal87
Jun. 4th, 2010 04:34 pm (UTC)
Amen sister!
I was in the pan-handle yesterday and personally I didn't see anyone marrying their sister or walking around barefoot. It was just too damn hot. Maybe they do it on weekends during Jesus camp.

and yay for you helping with the cleaning and educating your sprogs.
The BFF and I took our boys to Wakulla Springs in October. That place is awesome.
Hug up on a manatee for me.

beyondrubicon
Jun. 4th, 2010 04:46 pm (UTC)
I may be every bit the soulless, heartless mafioso but I <3 you. HARD.

Seriously though I can't imagine the mind set of anyone who would bring regional stereotypes into this disaster. My not entirely black heart goes out to every human and animal that is suffering because of this right now.

Thanks for the donation links.
stephanierb
Jun. 4th, 2010 05:19 pm (UTC)

Yeah, I'm with the others scratching their heads over people hauling out geographic stereotypes for this issue. That has what to do with this exactly? No matter where you live in the US, we're all using the oil that was being pumped out of the gulf.

This whole situation makes me extremely angry and disillusioned, if that's even possible. What a disaster.
fabrisse
Jun. 4th, 2010 05:44 pm (UTC)
WORD on the stereotyping issues.

I'll be in Clearwater, FL next week on a business conference. And I'm worried about what I'll find. As you say, this is food for thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people. Everything interlinks too, if we lose the Gulf as a fish source, we may lose so much more worldwide.

Regulation helps. Heaven knows I never thought I'd agree with James Cameron on anything, but his remark yesterday that asking BP for the evidence was like asking a thief to provide evidence of a robbery [/paraphrase] is not far off.

What about protected areas like South Padre Island? What's happening to them?
shipperx
Jun. 4th, 2010 06:01 pm (UTC)
I want to see some BP execs in JAIL. That simple. They need to be in jail. This is all just unimaginably bad. It's horrifying.

And people might want to keep in mind that 75% of the shrimp for the entire US come from what BP has just destroyed.

Did I mention that I want some 800+/- "willful violations"-having BP execs to land their asses in jail? Because I do. I so totally do. The CEO 'wants his life back'? So do the oil workers that died in the fire! So do the shrimpers and fishermen who have lost their livelihood! So do all the hotel, restaurant, and resort owners along the coast!

He's an asshole.

fabrisse
Jun. 4th, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC)
There's this little resort in Cuba I'd like to introduce them to. Clothing's optional, er, a privilege, I understand.
risingtofall
Jun. 4th, 2010 06:15 pm (UTC)
It is so ignorant to see what is happening with the oil spill and shrug it off and think "well that's way down there, that doesn't effect me" I think it says something (and says something bad) that people aren't realizing the gravity of the situation. I mean the country has come together with things like 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, earth quake but where is the collective massive movement from people to do something about what is happening?
maybe1ce
Jun. 4th, 2010 06:22 pm (UTC)
Oh, please. People are morons. Anyone who portrays Gulf Coast Residents as extras from Deliverance is the moral equivalent of Sarah Palin throwing around terms like "Real America."

Think the East Coast is full of urban intellectuals? Take a trip to Rural New England.

Think Texas is full of Right Wingers? Hie thee to Austin.

Think California is full of Hippies? Dude. You should see the Megachurches.

Think Alaska is a frozen wasteland? Check out inner-city Anchorage, the agricultural Mat-su Valley, or funky cultural centers in the Southeast.

Think Florida is full of strip malls and serial killers? Well, it is.



[giggle. I kid because I love, and because my brother lives in Tampa and I live to torment him about it.]

Edited at 2010-06-04 06:22 pm (UTC)
rocketlaunching
Jun. 4th, 2010 07:08 pm (UTC)
Think the East Coast is full of urban intellectuals? Take a trip to Rural New England.

Ain't that the truth. <3
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weaver42
Jun. 4th, 2010 06:27 pm (UTC)
I'd love for you to come back to tminds and talk about how deregulation had the deleterious (I love that word) effect.

Great post, as always, from you.

Also, for the record? We East Coasters *are* all soulless and hateful. Mafiosi, not so much. But without souls and hate shoved in the soul socket, absolutely.

-- c.
stoney321
Jun. 4th, 2010 06:46 pm (UTC)
LOL. I secretly believe it's true about you east coasters. And I know you're in the mob. The Pennsyltucky mob. HEY, I WATCH IT'S ALWAYS SUNNY, I KNOW THINGS. :D

With that one commenter and a few others on another board, I blew my top earlier and needed to pull the thorn out. I'll breathe deep and come back over.
rocketlaunching
Jun. 4th, 2010 07:06 pm (UTC)
and all of you West Coasters are crystal-loving, pot smoking hippies.

You've obviously never been to Massachusetts :P

I agree with everything you've said in your post and can only hope that it gets better soon down there for people who's whole livelyhood revolves around the ocean. And reading that bit about the dolphins makes me RAGE.
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