I've been silent since last week, since Katrina. I think many who blog can understand this silence, and perhaps have found it difficult themselves to find the right words.
I'm a novice blogger. I'm not a great writer. My grammar is lacking. I'm not smooth and witty as I write. I don't paint word pictures. I'm not politically savvy. I'm not a great humanitarian.
However, I am a mother. I am a compassionate person. I think I am a person of reason. I can find no "reason" for this disaster. No explanation for the disgraceful response our government and our "leaders" have shown in its wake.
I feel helpless, and in part I feel helpless because I am a mother. If I did not have a child I would have headed for the Gulf Coast last week, hand in hand with my husband. As health care professionals we would be able to help. As a woman and mother, I would be able to lead! I know...I know...it is easy to say that, especially since as a mother, I can not find it in me to leave my child, a child who already deals with reactive attachment disorder as a result of his early life in an orphanage.
I watched TV with growing frustration last week. Unable to understand why someone did not take control! We see now that there were individuals that did take control and were able to make a difference. Yet it continues to confound me that no one from our government was able to do that. Again and again we see and hear how the people of the Gulf Coast were failed by their government.
Yet at the same time as I hear these accusations, and watch the finger pointing, I can't help but think that each "individual" in the government must have been doing what he or she thought was right. But again, I wonder why someone with the power didn't just say "get those people some help damnit, and do it NOW!"
I do believe, that despite the disgust we feel at our "leaders," we need to move beyond it now and deal with the problem at hand. But do not let us forget this experience. We must make sure we learn from it. Our "leaders" must make sure they learn from it.
I feel guilty as I sit on my comfortable couch and watch a scene on TV that I can not relate to. I can not even begin to imagine what those people are going through. The closest I can come is the times I spent my spring break in college working on Appalachian Service Projects. That's about the roughest I've had it. A nice middle class, liberal arts college kid, roughing it for a week in sleeping bags in a barn, or church rec room, with limited bathroom facilities. Shocked by the conditions of the families we were helping. Thinking we had done such a wonderful thing, taking one week out of our privileged lives.
And as I sit here thinking, I realize that not only is the fact that the response to this disaster was disgraceful, we now are forced to look at the class distinctions so many of us like to ignore. There is, and probably will continue to be, debate over whether this was a "race" issue, or a "class" issue. I believe it is both, but more so, it highlites that all to often, class and race are intertwined in our society. Do any of us sitting so comfortably in our safe, dry homes, find it easy to look at and listen to what we are told are the majority of the survivors? Yes we hurt for them, we hurt for their loss of homes, and families, of any security they may have had. But is it also because they "sound" different from us, appear to be uneducated, poor, perhaps in our minds lazy, or helpless. We all have pictures in our minds of what that part of "society" looks like. How many of us have stepped around a homeless man in a doorway or alley? Looked right through a woman in the subway begging for money? Will this finally make us look clearly at the structure of our society? Will we finally do something?
As we all said we will never forget, after September 11, 2001. We must not forget Hurricane Katrina. We must learn from this disaster, make sure we are prepared for another, be it natural or not. But, we must also all take a hard look at all levels of society and DO SOMETHING about it.
These are my opinions. As I said, I feel helpless, yet am unwilling to sacrifice my family to physically go there and help. We have donated to several charities and will continue to help monetarily as we can. I hold my son and husband closer to me and remind myself to appreciate what I have.