Thursday, September 01, 2005

Ashamed

So often, during disasters of minor or major importance, I am proud of the behavior of my country. We stand up, stick up, care for those in trouble. We collect millions of dollars. In little and big ways, we've so often come to the rescue of ourselves and of other nations. Well. Not this time. In this time of Hurricane Katrina, I'm embarrassed to be an American.

This time, we've got whining Americans. "Why aren't we receiving condolences from other countries?" "Why isn't anyone giving us financial aid?" Childish and nonsensical. We want it both ways. We want to be the paternalistic nation that cares for all and runs it all. But when things get rough, we want someone to rush in and take care of us.

Hello? Have any of these whiners and complainers noticed the financial state of the world compared to the United States? There's a reason we rush in where others are monetarily unable to tread: we have money up the wazoo, and most other nations don't. The Rockefellers don't usually turn to the Trumps when they suffer a market corrections. They use their other billions to rescue themselves.

And this time, we've got looting Americans. Admittedly, some of these folks are looting simply to exist. When there is no place to buy food and water, and no food and water to legally be had, looting may be the choice of last resort. But the cars full of beer and television sets? Me thinks this is not about survival. This is about greed. This is about disrespecting your neighbors. This is about short-sighted people who do not see how their actions will destroy New Orleans.

I cannot imagine what it would be like to be the owner of the local corner store, watching my neighbors emerge from my place of livelihood with the goods I've poured my life blood into. Watching first your business be trashed by Katrina, then by Fred, the guy who lives down the block.

And last, we've got the gouging Americans. Jacking up the price of gas well before any need to do so. The losses incurred by the oil companies have not hit the pumps yet. Have not hit the refineries yet. Have not hit the oil companies yet. The increase in prices is all about greed. Getting what you can while you can. The American Way.

What happened to the American Way of fairness? Of honesty? Of respect? I see this as a top down issue. Morals are modeled from the top down in every area of life: families, governments, businesses. And, right now, ain't nobody modeling much but greed, disrespect, and selfishness. CEOs making more money than anyone could spend in a lifetime while workers are bumped to part-time jobs with no benes. Governments passing budgets that benefit oil companies making record profits while yanking funding from social services and relevant organizations like the New Orleans' Corp of Engineers. And parents that are more concerned with me, me, me and materialism than spending time with their kids.

I know there are Americans right now doing the right thing. Probably more than who are doing the wrong thing. But what I see in the news, and what the rest of the world sees, are the ones doing the wrong thing. And because of that, I'm appalled. Disgusted. And ashamed.

Until tomorrow,
Liz

2 Comments:

Anonymous Dianna said...

I couldn't agree more. It is disgusting to see what Americans are doing to their own neighbors and to people who have come in to help them. Compared to what we have seen in other parts of the world also hit by natural disasters, recent US behavior is beyond embarassing. It is, indeed, shameful.

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The tragedy itself is enough to try and digest without the behavior that surrounds it. I totally agree with your shame...and really worry that some of the racist under tones that are always a part of this part of our country aren't further inflamed by this event.

1:08 PM  

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