Since the turn of the century, we’ve had our share of disturbing events – 9/11, the Tsunami, Iraq, Afghanistan, genocides, London…. Each time, it feels like a blow to the head, or a kick to the gut, and we get more serious for a while, vow to give more time to charity, to be a better person, wonder at the craziness of it all; then slowly work our way back to our comfortable if voracious existence complete with pop culture, lots of ‘stuff’, and maybe not so much on the good works.
But Katrina is whacking me upside the head in a whole other way.
Take One: Dystopia, Apocalypse = America
No coincidence that sockmonkey and I would both have “Slouching Towards Bethlehem” in our heads this week. At various times I’ve talked about…
- The looters in New Orleans are like Americans with their skin ripped off – the revealed greedy spirit underneath – unfortunately, that’s a ‘prototype’ of them for me.
- In other disasters (think Asia), we saw poor people giving other people everything to share, including their last bit of food; in America, the “epitome of civilization” as they would have it, we’re hearing about people being raped, people stealing guns and shooting at rescue helicopters, toxic fires that are out of control, looters going after big screen TVs and stealing bread and water from old people.
- Right-wing religious nuts (that may be a redundant phrase) touting Katrina as God’s wrath for licentious behaviour, being friendly to the “gays” and letting women terminate pregnancies.
Take Two: Piss On the People, Piss On the Land
- North America and China like their gas. In Canada, we’ve seen jumps of as much as 20 cents per LITRE, even though about 90% of our gas is produced domestically and has NOTHING to do with American gas reserves. Our governments (provincial and federal) should get enough in tax grabs to build the best health care system the world has ever seen, but that won’t happen.
- Images of people in Florida and Louisiana waiting in line for hours for basic survival supplies, like WATER, in their SUVs, with the motor running!
- Katrina was a fluke, of course, and had nothing to do with global warming (see nuts above) and we should continue to use gas and other non-renewable resources as we see fit.
- This IS racial. No need to adjust your television because most of the people stranded in New Orleans are black, and poor. It’s all good though, right? I mean, most of the rich white people got out okay…
- Here come the higher prices: starts with gas; moves to travel, and food (due to transport costs), and fresh water, and lumber, and… . Inflation remains low, with related compensation increases. Rich gettin’ richer (and which family in the US makes money on oil and gas reserves, um, I think the name is “Bush”) and poor definitely gettin’ poorer, and those of us in the middle losing ground.
- Totally makes sense to rebuild New Orleans right where it is, below sea level, on a freakin’ swamp, with only a levee to protect it. Cuz, you know, what are the chances?
Flash forward to the future and which fork will we take? Will we suddenly start making wiser, more future-thinking decisions? Or will we have a blast killing off this phase of existence on planet Earth? I mean, we’re way past 1999 anyway.
Take Three: George W. is Right!
America is at a turning point and CNN doesn’t know it. The conditions are ripe for the far right, the religinuts and the military to impose their will on the American people. And the people may take it – for a while.
- It’s already come out that $700 million was diverted from FEMA to Homeland Security, which is part of the reason that help has been slow to be organized. Yet its citizens don’t seem to concerned that “help” has been replaced with privacy restrictions, security and a big, bad DOMESTIC war chest.
- As quoted more than once, many Americans feel that what’s happened in New Orleans shows us why we need MORE GUNS. To protect ourselves from the gun-toting looters, of course.
- In the comforting words of the Louisiana governor, the military are moving in, they have M-16s, and they are “locked and loaded”!! Oh, and we’re here to help!
In the end, I cry for what has been revealed about human behaviour, I worry about the largescale implications (the ripple has started here – mark the calendar), I fantasize that America is just a fucked-up island that can implode into its own crater without much lateral damage, I pity the life of the poor American, I hope that there’s another way and that we decide to take it.