Tuesday, September 06, 2005

I've been Inarticulate . . .

Talking with my sister last week over some of the issues surrounding hurricane Katrina, I found myself unable to articulate intelligently how I was feeling - we both attributed that to the utter feelings of helplessness at watching what was going on as presented by the media.

I told her, that while I wasn't wishing it on us, I couldn't help but feel that we'd have done better. And a part of me felt ashamed for feeling that way - for judging what others are going through, and being snide enough to assume that I am better equipped to handle such a disaster.

But the truth of the matter is, I am and have been better equipped - by virtue of the fact that I was not raised in a family where I expected to have things done for me. I was nurtured to be independent and stand tall. What has helped me to see this and become, once again, articulate, was this posting first by Ogre's Politics and Views particularly this excerpt:

I had been wondering for days why reports kept coming in about people in places "waiting for help." It confused me because if it were me, I wouldn't sit there waiting. I don't care if I had nothing, sitting still waiting wouldn't get me anything. I'd leave, if nothing else, and go find a public water fountain in Florida.

Then, this morning, (H/T to Eric's Grumbles Before the Grave) I found the link to this article on Tribes by Bill Whittle @ Eject, Eject, Eject. This article, while long, is a VERY worthwhile read in my opinion. The author apologizes up front for some "R" rated language, but you can trust me here - it's not used in the vein of "thug rap" and it has a purpose. He could white-wash it but chose not to at this point. For my purposes, as I prefer to not use some language, I've edited two words in this excerpt:

Only a few minutes ago, I had the delightful opportunity to read the comment of a fellow who said he wished that white, middle-class, racist, conservative *********** like myself could have been herded into the Superdome Concentration Camp to see how much we like it. Absent, of course, was the fundamental truth of what he plainly does not have the eyes or the imagination to see, namely, that if the Superdome had been filled with white, middle-class, racist, conservative *********** like myself, it would not have been a refinery of horror, but rather a citadel of hope and order and restraint and compassion.

That has nothing to do with me being white. If the blacks and Hispanics and Jews and gays that I work with and associate with were there with me, it would have been that much better. That’s because the people I associate with – my Tribe – consists not of blacks and whites and gays and Hispanics and Asians, but of individuals who do not rape, murder, or steal. My Tribe consists of people who know that sometimes bad things happen, and that these are an opportunity to show ourselves what we are made of. My people go into burning buildings. My Tribe consists of organizers and self-starters, proud and self-reliant people who do not need to be told what to do in a crisis. My Tribe is not fearless; they are something better. They are courageous. My Tribe is honorable, and decent, and kind, and inventive. My Tribe knows how to give orders, and how to follow them. My Tribe knows enough about how the world works to figure out ways to boil water, ration food, repair structures, build and maintain makeshift latrines, and care for the wounded and the dead with respect and compassion.
(Emphasis mine)

Whittle goes on to break tribes down into two colors - Pink and Gray:

Now, for the rest of you, let’s get past Republican and Democrat, Red and Blue, too. Let’s talk about these two Tribes: Pink, the color of bunny ears, and Grey, the color of a mechanical pencil lead.

I can identify to some degree with the "Pink" tribe as described, but all in all, in my heart of hearts, I know that I am a member of the Gray Tribe. Go read it for yourself - chances are, if you're reading my blog, you'll find you're a member of the gray tribe as well.

It's truly wonderful to have the gift of articulation - thanks, Ogre & Bill Whittle for giving that back to me!


At 9/06/2005 2:39 PM, Blogger Ogre said...

Well thank you for your kind words!

I still don't get that mentality. I simply do not believe that sitting still gets you anything, so I can't imagine doing it.

I was talking to some youngersters today and told them a version of my story. Their question, when I said I'd go somewhere, was, "Where?"

My response: ANYWHERE.

At 9/06/2005 3:59 PM, Anonymous Eric said...

Glad you enjoyed Bill Whittle's essay. I think it is excellent, to say the least.

And, like Owlish, I cannot comprehend the mentality of staying put. I used to live near Savannah, which has very similar problems to New Orleans, although not quite as bad. In fact, I lived there both when Ivan hit Charleston and Andrew hit Florida. Both of those hurricanes originally pointed at Savannah, and only turned 48 to 72 hours before making landfall.

In both cases I had my family packed and ready to go. at 36 hours before landfall I would have sent the family west to get away from the hurricane. I would have had to stay since I was in the Army, and that's what I would have done, unlike the New Orleans PD.


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