Wednesday, September 07, 2005

No room at the ranchion?

From the Fabulous Frankie G., your blogstress's partner in musical crimes, comes this thought:

The great state of Texas; The land of MILLIONS and MILLIONS of acres of luxury "ranchions" (ranch-mansions), and they cannot take in any more refugees from Louisiana.

Perhaps they're thinking, who needs African-Americans when you've got Mexicans (who work much more cheaply)?

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Family intervention

Yes, there is more going on in the world than the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, but your blogstress finds it difficult to focus on anything else, for nothing illustrates the dire straits in which the whole nation finds itself better than the administration's callous and craven response to this disaster. As the water recedes, along with the bodies of New Orleans' beloved, perhaps the American people will find themselves staring the corpse of their own republic in the face.

Note to the American people: This is not your country. It belongs to to the corporations and their largest shareholders. You pay the freight for the pleasure of living under their hand.

And the saddest part of all this? This is still one of the best places to live on earth. So imagine the hell lived by far too many of the earth's people, all for the beast's feeding pleasure.

In today's Washington Post, we find an amazing piece by Elizabeth Williamson that tells of aid offers ignored by the administration--for things desperately needed, like the water purification system offered by Sweden. (Geez, fellas, might that interfere with giving our corporate cronies a set-aside, no-bid contract for water purification?)

Soon after the flooding, the government of Sweden offered a C-130 Hercules transport plane, loaded with water purification equipment, and a cellular network donated by Ericsson.

Offers of foreign aid worth tens of millions of dollars -- including a Swedish water purification system, a German cellular telephone network and two Canadian rescue ships -- have been delayed for days awaiting review by backlogged federal agencies, according to European diplomats and information collected by the State Department.

Maybe it's the cell-phone network the administration doesn't want the emergency workers in New Orleans to have. You'll recall that the feds cut the emergency lines in Jackson Parish last week, leaving the parish president no choice but to place sheriffs along the infrastructure, in order to protect the people's phones from the federal insurgency.

Williamson goes on to report on the frustration of many in the international aid community who desperately want to help the drowning, starving and ailing black people of New Orleans, only to be turned away by an arrogant Caucasian-centric administration that chants a mantra, "We'll do it ourselves."

In an open letter released yesterday, though, Ambassador John Bruton, head of the Delegation of the European Commission to the United States, wrote:

"Perhaps one of those lessons will be that rugged individualism is not always enough in such a crisis, particularly if an individual does not have the material and psychological means to escape the fury of a hurricane in time."

Now don't get your Webwench wrong; she's big on the rugged individualism thing (though, in her case, it's more like silky-smooth, highly exfoliated individualism). But when she finds herself in trouble, she's mighty grateful to be part of a clan of willful, capable people who tend to show up en masse when called for. (Thanks, Ma. Thanks, Dad. Merci beaucoup, mes frères. Gracias, cousins, aunties, second cousins, nieces, nephews, grand-nephews. You dig?)

In the family of your cybertrix, dysfunctional though it may sometimes be, "family" includes anyone related by blood, marriage, adoption, or by just having hung around for awhile. Consequently, like America, we're a pretty multicultural lot. We speak a bunch of languages, and we can't all speak each other's mother tongues. But screw with one of us, and you'd better be ready to deal with all of us--white, brown, yellow, Catholic, Protestant, Jew, Buddhist, agnostic. We didn't start out particularly enlightened on such matters, but life kept mixing us up with "others," creating a collective US, and there you have it.

As the cognitive linguist George Lakoff has noted, America likes to think of itself as a family. Problem is, in the family of America, dad seems to have his favorites and his disinherited. Here's Jimmy Breslin, writing this weekend in Newsday:

Friday, showing up on the fifth day of a national tragedy, Bush made a little humorous aside about the times he was in New Orleans celebrating too much. Beautiful! If he tried to walk fifty yards he could have tripped over somebody's dead black grandmother under a blanket.

How do you like it? How do you like having a president who at a time like this reminisces about getting drunk in New Orleans? White boy with Daddy's money roaring at Mardi Gras in a town black for the rest of the year.

If whites were in trouble in New Orleans, trust that his government would have been there early and the aid massive.

Many thanks to our friend, St. Jacques du Fenway, for sending the Breslin piece along.

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