Now, I'm not going to try and wow you with my essay skillz. Or be the intellectual disconnected observer saying things in a manner that impresses you with my acumen. Because I'm not that person. I am the person that is giving off a primal scream of RAGE. You've been warned.
I've tried to not add fuel to the fire, because honestly: what is my linking you to the same stuff going to do? I'd rather roll my sleeves up and do something. But this morning, I heard a man give what at first seemed like a reasonable solution for folks coming in to neighboring states and looking for work: adopt a system like FDR during the Depression and have people work for themselves - for their own improvment, their city's improvement... Excellent. Worked then, could work now if we can make the red tape disappear. Then he followed it up with this:
Sadly, I doubt we will be in danger of being trampled by the rush of people to accept that offer.
THIS IS THE PROBLEM RIGHT HERE. The general assumption being that the folks displaced by Katrina are deadbeats. Are you trying to tell me there were no working people in New Orleans? In Slidell? In Gulf Port? No teachers? Lawyers? Computer techs? Janitors? Housecleaners? Secretaries? Two guesses as to the age of this... white man.
I am not going to be liked for this, and I don't give a shit: I am fucking ready for our "Greatest Generation" to friggin' die off, take their Jim Crow southern mentality, their old fashioned "morals" and fucking decompose. I am ALSO ready for MY generation, the one that doesn't generally bat an eye at inter-racial marriages, differing sexual orientations, longing for socialized Health Care to friggin' RISE UP and start improving things. If you are of age, and don't vote, please know that I don't have a lot of respect for you. That's a shitty thing to say, I'm sure, but Jesus Christ. Shit or get off the pot. That lackadaisical attitude is what allows a region to be forgotten. We have fucking abandoned the Delta region, and it's been that way for decades. God, a century or more.
Some how, it is still okay for us to not care about lower income blacks. There are still politicians who don't see that region as "viable" and divert money from, say... SECURING A CITY from NATURAL DISASTERS, or getting MENTAL HEALTH FACILITIES IN PLACE, or initiating DRUG REHABILITATION FACILITIES, in favor of spending money on ad campaigns on how the EPA is full of shit when it comes to pollutants from the PVC factories along the gulf coast. The gov't was so corrupt in LA, that they could LEGALLY pull you over and confiscate your vehicle, cash, property, etc. if they SUSPECTED you of trafficking drugs. Little old ladies in their Lincoln Town cars on their way to Ole Miss to visit their grandaughters getting hauled off so the local sheriff could get her car and diamond. I am not making this up. 20/20 did an expose on this a few years back.
And where was our outrage? Where was the disgust that we let theives and liars and crooks overrun a place? We didn't CARE because there are still people in this world that think the "blacks will kill themselves off." I could fucking chew nails at shit like that.
We need to make education, health care, and drug rehabilitation a priority. That goes a long way to helping people not LIVE in the conditions they were living in. And now there are 10,000 people still living in New Orleans because the battered four walls that are still standing are ALL THEY HAD. And their shot-gun shacks were what was left from their 40 acres. One man in the local paper told a man who tried to evacuate him yesterday, "Son, I've lived through worse." I cannot tell you how much that statement breaks my heart, because it is fucking TRUE.
There are still confederate flags in the south. There are still old-timer Dixiecrats that wish there were whites only bathrooms. I am fucking ready for those people to leave this life, and I don't care how that makes me sound.
For the record: the local news was at the Reunion Arena and Convention Center here in Dallas - which, for the record, the Convention Center is also set up as a hospital/prescription refill site - where there are no co-pays for prescriptsion - and interviewed some of the evacuees. One woman had spent a good hour looking through cast off clothing to find something presentable to go on a job interview today. Oh, she was black. One man was talking about how he would do any kind of work, and was trying to sign up to help keep the Convention Center clean, if only to stay busy. He was black. One kid, a little thugged out with pants sagging and lots of ink was wondering what was going to happen, and how he didn't have aplan for the future. He was white. It's really easy to sit in a clean house, intact, no armed guards patrolling outside your battered door and make blanket statements about the people displaced by Katrina. Real fucking easy.
And I'm tapped. For now. Sorry for the earful, but only kinda.
For those who are still looking for ways to help, a Utah based rescue group: Best Friends Animal Society (http://www.bestfriends.org) has rescue teams helping animals, getting them into a sanctuary in Miss. and trying to unite pets with their owners. That is all shades of wonderful.
A website: (http://www.dallashurricaneaid.org) has been set up to help small businesses that were displaced find new space, job opportunities, support.
The Dallas Morning News is offering free four-line 10 day ads to offer aid, support, goods, job offers, and services to the victims of Katrina. Call them at (214) 745-8123.