Can't hold this back anymore. Gets worse and worse. This is what my blog is for - to communicate what I feel, and this is what I'm feeling now. I'm not going to bother with the links (except to Shakespeare's Sister) - most of you don't follow them anyway, and the ones that do have either already read them or don't believe the information anyway.
Here goes. This was written in response to my concerned friend in Charlotte asking me how I was handling all this. I have done my best to tone down the language.
Thank you so much for giving me an opportunity to tell someone how incredibly f-ing outrageous this situation is. I can't even go into details of what's been happening in NOLA over the last few days - Brian says "it's all about geography" and that he's affected by this stuff, too, but he can turn away so he can maintain his sanity and create a better world for Duckie and me.
I'm having a real hard time turning away. People in NOLA and Miss are struggling to survive. Mothers with babies and children are having to protect themselves from hunger (no formula for babies and I'm sure nursing mothers aren't producing enough milk because they're starving and stressed, too), life-threatening dehydration, disease, fire, contamination, and the ravages of other human beings become worse than animals in their own fight for life.
Some assholes from the WH (Chertoff) have said (showing their idiotic asses once again) that NOLA folks should have gotten out before the 'cane hit. How blind can you be to the reality of life for these people and still have a functioning brain? The folks who were stuck there weren't the idiots in Florida who chose to stay through Andrew - because of their poverty, these people did not have a choice. They had nowhere to go and no way to get there, even if they did. Many did seek refuge in the Superdome and the Convention Center, and I'll bet you anything some of those people are wishing they'd been killed quick by Katrina rather than spend FIVE DAYS in the concentration camp conditions there now.
The help that is flooding in (no sick pun intended) from donations isn't making it to the people who desperately need it - people have been shooting at the relief helicopters which of course tends to slow down the rescue process.
Some other fundamentalist assholes (it was only a matter of time) are saying it was NOLA's fault - the city is full of corruption, gays, prostitutes, liberals and sinners, and it's God's retribution. When there's a stack of paper as high as the Superdome showing that FEMA's budget has been cut over the last five years, the NOLA Corp of Engineers asked for money two years ago from the federal government to repair and shore up NOLA's sinking levees and was denied that money, and we're spending billions of dollars a day to fund and divert human resources to an overseas war that was all about oil and revenge to begin with.
Oh, and speaking of Iraq, there was a stampede on Monday in Baghdad that resulted in the deaths of almost a thousand people, most of them women and children. It was during the procession to a Shiite religious ceremony, and someone spread the rumor of a suicide bomber in the crowd, causing a complete panic. This disaster has been lost in the media frenzy about the aftermath of Katrina.
Some assholes are saying (and I'm hearing this a lot at work; it's all I can do not to throw punches at this point and kill some more of their apparently useless brain cells) "Well, we sent all that aid to the tsunami victims - where's the rest of the world now?" I'll tell you what the rest of the world is doing - they're offering to help and W, in his unbelievable, sickening hubris is refusing it. Flat. Out. Refusing.
And at the same time, Karl Rove visits the other side of Camp Casey to congratulate Bush supporters (driving W's own gas-guzzling truck, no less), Condi Rice is f-ing SHOPPING FOR SHOES and hitting a few tennis balls at the US Open on her nice vacation, and W himself has deigned to fly over the devastation a couple of times and make a few inane f-ing comments.
Goddamn them all.
It's our own little Baghdad, right here in the US of A. And why does it surprise me? If the White House doesn't give a flying f^@& about people dying in Iraq, why would they care about people dying in NOLA? After all, these people are poor, black, and probably Democrats. No use to society at all.
Here's a quote from another blogger, Shakespeare's Sister, who is apparently feeling the same way:
The news today stirred in me equal feelings of desperate concern for the people hit hardest by this near-inconceivable disaster and blinding anger toward the people responsible for their continued suffering. The two feelings crashed headlong into each other as I listened to a woman on NPR, sobbing, pleading with Bush to help them. She said children and women are being raped, many are in dire need of medical care, and people are starving and dying of thirst. "Please, President Bush, please send someone to save us." I just completely broke down. It was the final straw, listening to someone beg for help from someone who was out playing golf while she was fighting for her life.
I don't dare watch the news when I get home. I see enough of it online at work and in the canteen, where either Fox News or CNN is spinning these stories so fast you need a double-dose of Dramamine just to keep up with it.
The gas price issue, to me, seems utterly ridiculous now. So we have to ration. B. F. D. We should have been doing that years ago - it should have been mandatory. We're at war, right? So prices have gone up. B. F. D. Maybe it will wake some people up to the fact that our economy is NOT in recovery and that all the statistics our leadership throws like blinding sand in our faces are just hiding the fact that most Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and totally unable to save anything to prepare them for a financial crunch like this. So we have to carpool, take buses, walk or ride bikes. Fine. Well and good. Maybe it will make us a little less selfish as a nation, a little less out of shape, a little more understanding of people who are already without the independence we take for granted.
At least we have running water and soap. At least we have food to eat. At least our kids have diapers and clean clothes. At least we're not being attacked and held at gunpoint. At least we haven't been forced to "evacuate" with our families into a hellish cesspool of piss and shit and dead bodies and scorching heat.
There have been some good developments. John Conyers (D-OH), of the Downing Street Memos inquiry fame, is planning to introduce a widely co-sponsored bill in Congress next week to provide waivers for the victims of Katrina, so they can declare bankruptcy under existing laws, not under the new, stricter laws that will come into effect in October, which are meant to make it harder for Americans to declare bankruptcy at all. Thank God someone is showing some freaking sense.
11,000 people have been moved to the Houston Astrodome, where they will have access to food, running water and medical care.
Mississippi, at least, has gotten some relief, simply because it's easier to get to.
People are opening their checkbooks and their homes to refugees. Huge fundraising efforts are being made to bring money and supplies to these areas. Volunteer medical units from all over the country are going south to help.
They found Fats Domino alive yesterday (I don't know what the hell he was thinking by staying - he certainly had the means to get the hell out of NOLA before Katrina hit.) And families are somehow managing to find each other, although there is one woman here at the plant who hasn't heard from her son, who lived in Slidell, for days. (Slidell doesn't exist anymore.)
As far as how I'm dealing with it, it reminds me a lot of my reaction to 9/11, except it just keeps going on and on. 9/11 was a huge catastrophe, but we also saw an amazing outpouring of support (from civilian efforts and from the government) and there was a strong leader in charge (I ain't talking about W, either.) The collapse of the buildings happened quickly (fallout lasted a couple of days as the surrounding structures collapsed as well) but it wasn't this sense of watching a slow, endless train wreck - watching people starve and die and turn feral while we can't get help to them.
I'm trying not to weep at my desk in the fishbowl. I'm trying not to take my anger out on others, and I am ashamed to say I failed miserably at that yesterday with Brian. He's forgiven me, but it was eye-opening to me to see how deeply I am disturbed by this catastrophe. I am trying not to take my anger out on other people who seem to be utterly oblivious, but who are probably trying as hard as I am to keep their shit together by whatever means possible.
It's better when I get home -at least I can turn on the Animal Planet, play with Duckie, make dinner, and have some sense of normalcy in my own home.
In my mind, though, I'm never very far away from the parents in NOLA and Miss who can't feed or protect their babies. It's the worst nightmare I can imagine.