Sunday, September 04, 2005

Pulling herself up by her bootstraps

Thnx to Jesus General for this highly instructive insight into what might possibly prompt our plucky national leader to bestow upon us that coveted personal pat on the back:

"Along with the water and garbage bag, I shall strap to my back my 82 year old wheelchair bound mother. She can put the water on her lap. I shall then put my 2 children in one arm, (my husband is in Iraq) wrap my dog in rope and put that rope between my teeth. I shall leave my other arm free so that I can push aside the debris and the dead bodies floating by me as I resolutely walk through calf, thigh and chest high water that is filled with known and unknown items. (that I am pushing away with my free limb) for X miles to get to X. I do all this with 4 herniated discs that I received as a result of my carelessness at work. I was standing on a platform doing my job (S&R) and the platform collapsed I guess I should have telecomunicated. My car by the way was at the mechanics for yearly inspection. I went to get it out on Saturday but the mechanic had fled. Yep, in my car.

"I called my uncle (he has a private corporate jet) but he could not come and get us, no permission to land.

"Tried to rent a car, none left. I did see a big SUV leaving and when I asked for a ride to where ever, the driver said no, the back seat was filled with his clothes and knickknacks from his house. I offered him the 300.00 I had He grabbed it from my hand (the one the free limb is attached to)and he shut the door and took off. Now, when I reached the French Quarter I went to the Hilton. No rooms. I did have a credit card left but the manager was busy getting the guests out. I then made my way to the convention center.

"There was a criminal element there (just like anywhere). They had privatized all the water and food supply. Some were running around with guns and raping woman and children and stealing from people just seeking shelter. Others, were shooting at anything, moving or still. I believe they were the addicts coming down from a high and no where to get a fix. I am at my wits end. It has begun to rain. I admit it is all my fault. I am an utter failure. I deserve what I get.

"My great-great- great- great parents should never have settled here. Although I do know we had working levees in 1729."


Lisa said...

I just cannot wrap my mind around this... Like I said on my blog, this shit did NOT happen in mean old NY but it's happening in the friendly South... What is going on? Why there?

Athana said...

I assume you mean the violence, looting and so forth. I think there are many reasons it happened in the South (after Kat.) but not in NYC (after 9-11). The reasons are complex.

I believe that, to a great extent it’s because Southern culture has always differed radically from the American culture found on the Eastern seaboard and in New England. I can say this, because many of my own ancestors came from the South (and the others from New England).

From its very beginning the South held on to the rigid social hierarchy they brought over here from England. At the top were the nobility, at the bottom were black slaves, and in between 8-10 other “classes” of people, each one worse than the next, and most of them dirt poor with no hope of “rising.” The South fails to this day to take care of its poor, nor does it educate them well.

New Englanders were a little better: they decided from the beginning, way back in the 1600s, that they weren’t going to have a rigid class structure. Massachusetts even refused to let certain British nobles move to Mass. because these dudes “demanded” that their rank be hereditary. New England had scads of colleges and universities from the beginning, and they took good care of their poor.

The best system, though, was set up in the mid-Atlantic states – PA, NY, DE etc. – where Quakers predominated early on. Quakers felt everyone should be equal. They were beaten because they refused to take their hats off in front of their “betters.” They refused to say “Your Excellency,” and “My Lord,” etc.

The historian David H. Fischer has written a gorgeous book about all of this, “Albion’s Seed.” Fischer thinks you can still see these huge regional differences in the U.S, that were set early in America’s history.

Anyway, do you get my drift? The South has always had tons and tons of dirt poor people who are stepped on to keep them down, who have been poorly nourished, who have had little education for generations. Again, I can say this because many of my own ancestors came from the South.

Anyway, the result is that you obviously have many, many more deeply angry people in the South, more people driven mad by the injustice, the poverty, the ruthlessness with which they are treated – and have been treated, for generation upon generation.

Also, the South in general is poorer than NY. Less money for social services to help themselves, for well trained police, for drug treatment programs, for schools to teach people how to effect good local govt., etc. etc.

Lisa said...

You are damned right! Your post makes me even more happy to be from a Mid-Atlantic state. I hate the South, I hate Texas, give me NJ/NY anyday!

In the American Government class I took this summer, we had a mini-symposium on Religion in American Politics, with an emphasis on the role of the Religious Right. I found a fascinating article discussing how the RR and this new fundamentalism rose from the Civil Rights movement. Dr. King first appeared to be a Moses figure, but turned into a martyred Jesus figure. Bus boycotts and passive resistence looked far more Christian than the attack dogs and firehoses and all the other hypocrisy!

Athana said...

Sounds like an interesting article. But the author's not saying that white fundies came from the Civil Rights movement -- or is s/he? If so, how?

I thot of something important about the looting in NO to add: I think a great, vast percentage of it is coming from good people who are just trying to get shoes for their feet, to walk on 110-degree concrete, food, water, diapers, formula, etc. They've gone five days without because of the White House's incomptence(?) or evil design -- I still can't decide which.

Lisa said...

Looting I completely understand, it's the shooting of rescue workers that baffles me...

The author of that article (I promise I'm going to try to dig it up again!) is not saying that the white folks who were involved in pro-Civil Rights activities became fundies, but the rest, specifically the apathetic ones. As the anti-Movement got more and more resistent and violent and presented on national television news, supposedly these formerly apathetic white Southerners subconsciously or consciously became embarrassed that their Dixieland was now known to the rest of the nation/world as this hotbed of cruelty and racism. To counteract this, they sub/consciously decided to become The Moral Force, an example to the Rest using something "no one" could deny the authority of: their Bible.