Saturday, September 10, 2005

Fellow Humans

The images are awful, the stories beyond anything the word “tragic” can adequately express. The anger over inaction – the worst aspects of Bureaucracy rearing its ugly head at precisely the time we needed its best. There is fault to be had at every level, from the highest levels of federal government down to the lowest. Mayor Nagin seems the only one man enough to admit his part, “I should have screamed louder. I should have screamed louder.” The president certainly will not admit to gross ineptitude and a grievous error in judgment in thinking of FEMA as a figurehead branch of government that didn’t actually need people qualified to run it.

Our nations invisible - those living in poverty – those forgotten people that many of us walk by or ignore, either because we feel guilty or because we simply choose to not see that sort of thing – are loudly on display for us all to see, to acknowledge, to recognize their humanity and say to ourselves – do we have what it takes to persevere when literally everything has been stripped of us – everything including our dignity? Can we handle it? If faced with it, will we show our best side? Or our worst?

There are going to be a lot of parents who have lost their children – I can’t imagine anything more horrible than that. There are going to be a lot of children who will no longer have parents or guardians – these children will need people willing to step up to the plate and adopt them. They deserve no less chance at a decent and loving upbringing – in fact they will need it even more. They will need protection from predators. As the African proverb says, It takes a village to raise a child” and the U.S. needs to be that village.

There are therapists from all over the states who are taking special training courses right now to go to these people and attempt to help them through this time. I hope there are therapists for these therapists when they are through at the end of each day. I hope there are people willing to dry the tears of the policemen and firefighters who have lost everything along with everyone else, but who are still showing up to do what they do best. Some didn’t make it.

There’s a lot of work ahead. As a friend said today, they need supplies, they need money, they need professionals there to guide them through these changes, and they also need our willingness to let go of anything within ourselves that puts us against our fellow human beings. It’s only with a collective shedding of the holding on to whatever puts our mind against other people that will accomplish world peace. We haven’t done very well with that and we can do better.

There’s a supply drive at a place where I work out. It’s a great community of people – when a woman with no insurance lost her arm in a car accident – this group of people came forward, pitched in, and paid for her prosthetic. Those are the kind of people I want to stick around. And they’ve come through again, with stacks of boxes of supplies, clothing, dufflebags and sleeping bags to be shipped. I didn’t know what to contribute and started thinking about what I would want if I was in that situation – all I could think of was, new underwear. I don’t know why. It’s stupid, I’m sure, but I went and filled up the cart with multi-packs of every size I could find – male, female, boys and girls . . .

Let’s start thinking like a village. What can we do to clean up this mess we’ve made of ourselves as human beings? If any one of us has ever had a negative thought in our head toward another person, then we are part of that mess. It’s fine for those people who believe that its every man for himself – that everyone should just pull themselves up by their bootstraps. But its kind of hard to do if you have no boots. We can do better. We've got to.



Blogger Seamus said...

It is time for the collective consciousness to be supportive and do what is needed to help. There will be plenty of time to point fingers and such, but the needs of the affected peoples along the Gulf Coast should be paramount.

10 September, 2005 14:01  
Anonymous pia said...

Great post. I have been avoiding talking about the need for therapists as I am one, though currently not practicing.

I have been avoiding the subject because I know that I'm not strong enough right now for many reasons, and the guilt that I feel is tremendous.

Keep on telling myself that in six months there will be just as big a need or more as the initial shock will have worn off. It doesn't help since I am also trained in providing concrete services that are needed now.

I can't imagine what they are going through. It's beyond the scope of my vivid imagination.

Tomorrow's the anniversary, and I even feel guilty for thinking that it and my mother's death which happened the next month are so insignificant now.

I don't even have a large enough apartment to offer people shelter--as many people that I know are doing

I can give money and I can give some supplies, but that's so limited

People are telling me that instead of faulting Bush for letting Brown go on so long and unchecked, I should praise Bush for getting rid of him so quickly. I don't think yesterday was very quick, and I will not stand behind a president who didn't react to 9/11 with any heart, and has shown even less now

Sorry Millicent for going on so long, and thanks for providing me a space to vent

I was told today in a blog that I write for ocasionally I cared about the physical hurricane and not the families. I have received many hurtful comments but that was the single most hurtful

10 September, 2005 14:47  
Blogger R said...

We think alike Ms M. I didn't know what to give either. I thought, well, the banks aren't open and the ones that are...many people don't have access to their account info or even have their identification. I have been giving out Walmart cards. They take forever to get to the people for some reason but those bastards will be open SOMEWHERE. And I would want my own underwear, tampons, hair brush etc. What is that other saying..."If you save one person you save the world"
I soo wish we had the means to adopt some of these children. I'd fill up the house. Prayers will have to do in some cases. I can hardly bear to watch the television.

10 September, 2005 22:22  
Blogger Laura said...

Great post, Mil. I am dismayed and sickened by the bungling of the entire emergency response system, especially the lack of communication and coordination. I hope that we can all learn our lessons and fix the system before the next disaster strikes.

11 September, 2005 15:32  
Blogger I.M. Dedd said...

That pretty much sums it up. Well done.

12 September, 2005 02:55  
Blogger JC said...

I am just so worried about what will actually happen to the funds that have been given. I also think that we all need to come together to decide what we can do to prevent this type of thing from happening again. This was a great post. You are right that these are the invisible people. Yet, what so many don't understand is that this could have been any one of us....

13 September, 2005 00:26  

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