Friday, September 02, 2005

the guy with the tie (for Susan)

Susan wrote--

It is really sad that the people who were the most devastated by the storm were also the poorest and most unable to help themselves. The fault lies in community and the lack thereof. It was the inability of the wealthy, educated and clearly ignorant people to look around and say, "I know I'm going to be safe but what about my neighbor." It's the people who live and interact, or should interact with their fellowman, their grocers, bankers, bikers, commuters, plumbers, fireman, policemen, shoe-shiners, bee-keepers, janitors, McDonalds food-servers, etc... Honestly, what would you do if you knew a hurricane was coming? Would you get in your car and drive away or would you go round up all your neighbors and give rides to everyone who couldn't get out. That is why community is so important. In times of need, you have to be able to pull everyone together and save everyone, not just the lucky few.

As cheesy as it sounds, it is the lack of willingness of those who were nearest to help out, for those who were educated and able to step up and say, let's do something. The responsibility is for the people closest to the situation to rise to the occasion, not some guy in a tie in some office, nor his administration. Yes, they could have responded in a timelier fashion, yes, they could have spent less on the war, yes, they could have lost the election, but they DIDN'T. So it is up to us, the people, the ones who live with and around each other to help out. It is our responsibility to look around and lift up our own people. I don’t want some ego-maniac who doesn’t know “my people” to have the honor and privilege of doing it.

And to Susan I say.........yes. I agree with the points about community and responsibility. Nicely said, I might add. But here comes the but..............

We have to ask questions of the people who lead this country. Difficult questions. Would this administration have acted differently for a different segment of the population? It does matter. Because though some of the immediate problems may trace back to the local level and people unwilling to help, federal acts matter. Money spent on a personal and holy war rather than war on poverty, a real and visible threat to this country--this money matters. Making it easier for rich folks to become richer--part of the problem, not just on a local scale, but a larger, international one when one thinks about how American greed affects global politics. The sharp divide between the working class and the upper classes of this society--a problem. It seems that material, lifestyle needs (or rather entitlements--as we've come to know them) overshadow basic human needs--and that this administration is not going to go out of its way to change this. And the irony--oh the irony--in the messages of this administration. "Promote culture of life." "Promote family values." The guy with the tie, if nothing else, is going to have to try to explain. And make a fool of himself in front of enough people, in doing so.


suestew said...

Am I a cynic or are you? I can't tell. The right and duty of a citizen is to criticize the president and his admin, so in that sense you're the patriot - way to go, where's your yellow ribbon. On the other hand, seems a bit naive to bank so much on a system that is bad from the foundation – I mean honestly, where can it be right if the definitions and arguments which have created it are unsound? I've decided to disregard it, unless it is useful to me, and live as responsibly as I possibly can while interacting with others outside of my comfort zone in order to learn more and be compassionate. When the levee breaks, and it will, I want to hold out my hand and know the person who saves me – not feel as though they don’t understand me. If I get angry and yell at the guy in the tie, only one person gets mad, and it’s not the guy in the tie. After all, he doesn’t care about what I have to say because I live in a state that didn’t vote for him.

Jane said...

Who is banking what on what? Where in my post do I say that the system works? Or that I believe in it? The post is more an explanation as to why I even care about what the pres says and does. I care because his actions or inactions matter. To a lot of people. And so what if he doesn't care what I think. I can still ask questions of him--to make myself feel better. That's what life is about, right? Wink.

suestew said...

I guess I am the cynic, assuming that you bank on a system because you direct questions toward it.

Tell me, what is the point of asking questions when the person you are addressing speaks another language and doesn't have or want a coherent translator? It's moot! Completely moot!

But ask away, if it is only to have provocative conversations with you sister. That's the best reason of all, don't you think?

suestew said...

As I read my posts I am aware of how unclear I was. My words were very cryptic because I was speaking my mind without thinking.

What I wanted to say is this...what the President does and doesn't do matters if we believe that there is not a better way to solve the worlds problems either through community efforts, religious efforts or on a grass roots level. Teachers teach and preachers preach and as you probably know, not a whole lot can stop them from changing the world one student/person at a time.

Jane said...

I think that some people can teach some people to think. I haven't yet met a preacher who has taught the flock or me to think--but I'm sure there are a couple out there. And I think thinking, noticing, engaging, having a semi-unique idea (doesn't Borges say that nothing is new?)--folks need to do these things. Often and for the sake of everyone. And it's not necessarily about change, for me.

I'm not a big believer in change--but a believer in doing something for the sake of doing something. What is the saying about "idle hands"? And then there is guilt.

And there are a few people I care about--they motivate me, too.

But change????

suestew said...

I'd like to go back to your original post about responding to the hurricaine. All I am saying is that we need to be the ones doing something, we as a community. I think education, of many varying kinds, is the best way to build community. I'm not talking about changing people so much as I am tlaking about building community so that a timely response to a disaster can be made. I shouldn't have used the word change because I know your feelings on the subject, although I do believe that people can change at least I know I can.

As far as doing something for the sake of doing something...that's a way building community.