As I sit, occasionally taking a sip or two of my cappuccino, I reflect upon the world I live in, the world we live in. The myth of Sisyphus comes to mind: life is absurd.
I live in a country where the elected leader allows days to pass before deciding on what actions to take in order to alleviate the distress of the people in New Orleans. It is rather ironic that days had to pass in order for our President to act, meanwhile world leaders of the caliber of Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez offered to assist the stricken people. Something must be wrong with the country, with the leadership when foreign leaders are able to respond more aptly than our own. Then again, who lives in New Orleans? When we see photos in newspapers showing the victims of Katrina, we are confronted with black faces, that minority that stubbornly refuses to progress.
The race card is being used once again; according to some, the slow response is due to the color of the majority of the victims of Katrina. On the other hand, the federal government seemed possessed by an exuberant zeal when it came to distributing hurricane aid in Florida in the run-up to the last presidential election (2004). And who constituted the majority of the afflicted at that time in the Sunshine State? Whites.
It is known that poor people do not know; they have other things to worry about. To put it succintly, using demographics, the white and middle-class people of Florida possess more political capital than say the black and poor and working-class people of Louisiana.
I have made the argument: why would you live in an area where you know natural disasters are a part of life? Coming from the San Francisco Bay Area, this question takes special meaning. As an individual, this is to say a free and independent actor, I choose where I want to live; fortunately this is my condition, yet I am not as naïf as to not realize that not everyone is as fortunate as I am. Likewise, people have said: An evacuation order was given. Those that decided to stay, they chose to do and now they are suffering the consequences. I understand the argument but I also understand that though an order was given, some people, for whatever reason were not able to obey it. If that reason was sheer stupidity and a desire to ‘protect property’ than the ancient axiom that only the poor possess liberty, proves true. I cannot feel pitty for those that did not evacuate because they wanted to protect their property. Choosing property over one’s own safety is absurd then again, property does bring happiness… to a certain extent. But as I said, some individuals, simply were not able to comply, for whatever reason.
In the end, after the politicking and so forth, the federal government as well as the state governments will have to pay the cost. As a Californian, why should my tax dollars be used to compensate people that chose (I am not referring to the people that have no choice in this matter; the fact is that people live in areas that are prone to natural disasters) to live in New Orleans? I don’t think it is fair, then again I think we must help them because it is a human tragedy no matter who or what is responsible. We are to learn from our mistakes, otherwise, we are to go on repeating them, and this would simply be asurd. I don’t know the number of dead, but everything seems to point to a high number. Those in authority need to learn from this mistake. If it means moving the city to higher ground, then that must be done. As sea levels continue to rise, it is the sensible thing to do – aside from building dykes and such.
We live in a world where leaders are not willing to stem the tide of global warming because of the short term negative effects, and by this I mean monetary costs. World leaders simply seem unable to put up with this side effect of actually doing something. But they are willing to permit the loss of human life – after all human beings are a natural resource that throughout human history has been dispensable.
As I alluded to earlier, the leadership is responsible for the situation in New Orleans. The President is under fire. But is he really responsible? What I mean is, are we responsible? The President served one term prior to this one, and in his first term, American suffered the tragedy of 9/11. Was the President’s response adequate? Was it up to stuff? There is film footage showing, in my opinion, a lack of leadership. It takes him a while to get up from the classroom and even then, what does he do? God only knows! So why are we shocked by his slow response? There is precedent. All those people that voted for him, for this time around, he was actually elected! are responsible in part for what is happening in Louisiana.
So, to be to the point, the President will be criticized yet in time, we will forget and he will continue with his administration, slowly continuing to rob a nation of its liberties; but do we deserve freedom? We live in a nation where people are content with saying “I am a liberal!” because they love the sound of it; but they have no idea what it means to be a liberal. They think that by belonging to the Democratic Party, they are liberal and doing their part to oppose the ‘evil’ Republican Party. Bullshit. American values, American society has been in decline since America became a superpower, i.e., post-WWII. We live under the illusion that we are still that bastion of democracy, of democratic values. In reality, we are that nation that speaks of democracy but our deeds foment the opposite. Then again, is democracy compatible with empire? Democratic institutions are not able to deal with an empire, which is what America possesses; history has shown this time and time again.
The Left will vituperate against the Right; but it is all part of the this great comedy, of this tyranny under the aegis of the illusion of democracy. The Right moves further to the Right and the Left, having no soul, no essence, instead of moving further to the Left, moves to the centre. Why? Because the Left does not care about standing for anything; it simply cares about garnering votes. Isn’t that the real purpose of a party? It is not about really standing for something, not anymore – what matters is being elected. And what’s the point of being elected if you don’t stand for anything? I don’t know. It seems absurd though.
So I will listen bitterly to the Left try to gain political capital from this tragedy. I will remember the events, meanwhile America will move on and forget, after all, CNN will provide the new story and everyone, as he has been properly trained, will turn his mind and heart to it. Sadly, the only victims of these pathetic theatrics, like always, are the innocent. Amen.