Thursday, September 08, 2005

Quitcher bitchin' and do some pitchin'.

Yesterday afternoon my students, during a few minutes of 'free time,' ie teacher uncaps her second diet coke and waits for the foam to die down, were discussing what could best be described as the college equivalent of "How I Spent My Labor Day Weekend Vacation."

The winner, hands down, was the man who spent his long weekend helping people down on the gulf shore.

Many of the things he descibed I have not heard or read about anywhere else. Terrible things being done by neighbors to neighbors, and by hordes of vicious strangers to groups of survivors who had been managing fairly well while waiting for help. Repulsive sub-human entities helping themselves to the carefully managed resources of intelligent survivors. He also spoke of something else, though, and I wish these things would get some publicity along with the other things. The three good doctor's link right HERE comes closest, though.

My student, a naturalized Chinese-American citizen, told me that for the first time in his life, he really understands the fable of "The Grasshopper and the Ant." So do I, for that matter.

I used to feel sorry for the poor grasshopper. Now, I don't. Well, maybe a little, but. . . . no, actually, I don't. I would still help him, but I would resent his getting things that the hardworking ant WORKED for. I have this quirk in me about people EARNING things. Which things? Um, everything. Gifts are rewards for being nice. Basics, you earn by working. And if you're not nice, you deserve no gifts. And if you don't work. . . . you get the general idea.

Yes, some people can't work. But many who could, won't. But this is another subject altogether and I don't want to be some old rambling woman who skips from one subject to another like Granny Cornpone on the nursing home porch, rocking back and forth, back and forth. . . .

Whoops, it might already be too late, huh.

Anyway. Back to the rant at hand:

Most of the publicity has been about the negative things, and perhaps, since this is the aspect that has the most immediate and dire needs, that is appropriate. But wouldn't it be nice to balance the news a little more, with stories about positive things happening down there? Not to divert the public attention from the terrible needs, but maybe to keep us all (them AND us) from flinging up our hands in despair and becoming so negative and political that we can no longer see the good things even though they're as much "right there" as the bad things?

I do not mean focusing only on attempts at normality and laughter INSTEAD of focusing on devastation and heartbreak and despair; I only mean, acknowledging that there actually are people down there who have the ability and intestinal fortitude to stand up, look around, say "Well shit, I've lost it all," and then take the family and any other people he/she can round up and find them something to eat and a place to sit and realize that as long as they still have each other, they've only lost 'stuff.'

"Stuff" can be replaced, eventually. People can not.

It does no good to try to place blame on something that's HAPPENED ALREADY. The time has come to put aside politics and lend a hand. It shouldn't matter who's standing beside you as long as you both are trying to help instead of standing there all aghast and pissed and righteously indignant, pointing a finger at someone because he/she/it/they/hello kitty didn't act fast enough or do something the way YOU think it shoudl have been done. It happened. That part is over. Shut the hell up now unless you can say something helpful.

What's important now is helping people. The ones who know how to be positive in the midst of mud and filth and the turds of strangers and the crying of children are the ones who will come out of this stronger. Those who have the ability to buck up, stand tall, sigh, and keep trying are the ones who will come out of this stronger. Placing blame is useless. Name-calling is easy.

It's the getting up off your ass and DOING SOMETHING POSITIVE that requires effort. How many of the name-callers and blame-placers are actually actively doing something positive to HELP PEOPLE?

That many? Well, at least I won't have to take off my shoes to count them then.

Racist? Shut up. People of all races are down there trying to help. My student told the class that occasionally a rabble-rouser would show up and try to rant about how only the rich white people were getting any help. Never once did the rabble-rouser offer to actually DO anything, he just wanted to stir people up and make them angrier and support his own personal belief system. Sure, there are people down there who think this wouldn't have happened to them if they were white and rich.

All the forces of nature respect people because of things like that, you know.

Here in Indiana, for example, the frequent tornadoes are attracted to metal and water because of some scientific physical law generally single out trailer courts and riverbed shacks where poor people live. By that same token, in other areas, overflowing river banks generally single out anyone of any color who chooses to live near the river the homes of poor people who live near the river. And how about those earthquakes that so often wipe off the face of the earth anyone who chose to live right smack on the fault poor people who live in substandard housing.

See what I mean? It's all strictly political. When Mother Nature strikes, she has politics on her mind and nothing else.

I rant all the time, but I try to DO things as well.

People who do nothing but rant and point and blame and bicker kind of, you know, make me sick. At heart, which is the very worst kind.

Thank you, dear student-who-spent-his-vacation-helping-others. You opened my eyes and my mind to something the media doesn't seem to be interested in.

They should be. Shame on them.

Shame on anyone who doesn't do anything except whine and blame and make a big deal out of how things SHOULD have been done. We can't live backwards, people. We can only live forwards.

Pitch in. Donate. Send water. Pray.

Those are positive things to do. Those things will help. Placing blame and whining about the past are negative things. Those things are of no help at all, and will actually delay the REAL help.

If you are one of those people whose very lifeblood is made of politics, then try to focus those politics on the future, not the past. Remember the past and let it guide the future, but don't dwell on the past to the point that you devolve into one of those sad pastel-suit-wearing finger-pointers of the Fallwell School of Political Rhetoric, who answer every question and highlight every issue by listing mistakes of the past without bothering to enlighten us with how you intend to use those mistakes to make the future better.

Complainers are of no use, to themselves or to others. Only those who can see what went wrong and then try not to make those same mistakes again, are of use to the world.

But don't think for a minute that either political party could ever solve this or any other issue perfectly. Nothing that deals with people will ever be perfect. Deal with that. You can't change it. Just do your best and hope.

Did I mention about how much I despise petty politics? I did? Okay, I won't have to say it again then.
Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 12:08 PM | |


I am Mamacita. Accept no substitutes! Hitting the fan like no one else can. . .
I'm Speaking at BlogHer 08 Archives Links

My Classical Blogroll

This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from Mamacita3855. Make your own badge here.

Credits Powered by Blogger

Designed by Swank Web Style
< <


Honors Blogrolling.com Hot 500


Lijit Search/a> < BlogHer.org Logo


Listed Subscribe with Bloglines

View My Public Stats on MyBlogLog.com

Personal Blogs - Blog Catalog Blog Directory

Listed on BlogShares


DIARIST.NET Registered!

Technorati Tags:

Technorati search

Free Hit Counter