Friday, September 02, 2005

Let's Talk a Second About the Government

In the next few days, blistering criticisms are going to fly about who is to blame for the disaster relief debacle in New Orleans.  George Bush will get hammered, Governor Blanco of Louisiana will get hammered, and so will the Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin will catch his share of flack as well.  That’s politics, folks.

They will catch it because thousands of people remain stranded without water and food.  They will catch it because there is looting in the streets. They will be the whipping boys (and girls) for the general mayhem that is taking place right now in downtown New Orleans.  Make no mistake, it is anarchy there now.  People are being shot, raped, and robbed.  And it is all the government’s fault.

But let me remind the few readers that I have of who this government belongs to.  When you watch the talking heads on the news gripe about what should have been done, and the words, “It’s the government; it’s the government…” wash over us like waters from Lake Ponchatrain, remember this quote:

It is rather for us the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us--that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion--that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

Government of the people, eh?  Do you know why folks are being robbed and killed and evacuations of the sick and dying are being called off?  Do you know why Wal-Mart and other stores emptied of computers, GameBoys, football jerseys, and shotguns faster than it emptied of bottled water and food?  It’s George Bush’s fault, right?  Gov. Blanco, where are you?  Why didn’t you guys do something?!

The reason the efforts have not been as successful as they should be might be because of a lack of preparedness, but I do not think that is the whole story.  I think that there is a cancer growing in America, and I believe that the raging waters have exposed the filth.

I vividly remember a particular line from Mel Gibson’s The Patriot.   In an early scene, he is at a town hall meeting where some people are trying persuade the people to rebel against King George of England.  Gibson’s character quips, “Why should I trade one dictator a thousand miles away for a thousand dictators one mile away?”  That was a gem.  You see, if we want a government of the people to work, then at the most basic level the people have to have a measure of morality, self-control, benevolence and love for neighbor.  If they don’t, then after watching television and working at the shelter in Plaquemine for the past few days, I cannot imagine a more hellish form of government, but I am afraid that’s what we are getting.

Every time I see someone crying about what the government ought to do, I wonder what that person has done to contribute to society.  I wonder if they are someone who looks for the government to send them a check every month for sitting on their hind end doing nothing and living in a project that the government pays for.  Or, I wonder if they are someone who is content to pull a check from work, pay taxes, and watch football.  I wonder if they have ever in their life went to a town hall meeting to discuss something that has come up.  Most people only holler at the government because they expect someone else to be doing something and not them.  The words that roll around in my mind at such talk are these:  OF THE PEOPLE!!  OF THE PEOPLE!!  We are like spoiled children getting ready to go to school, and when we find that our favorite shirt is dirty we throw a fit.  Why isn’t this shirt clean!  Why didn’t someone launder it before now?  We have a perfectly good washer and dryer and electricity, why didn’t you clean this shirt, mom??!  *SLAP!*  Wash the shirt yourself, you little ingrate.

I know that George Bush and Gov. Blanco aren’t perfect.  I also know that they do not read my blog.  But if somehow they did, I want to say that this isn’t all your fault.  We are worse than spoiled children, and parts of New Orleans were a cesspool long before Lady Katrina ever came to town.  And increasingly, it seems that the cesspool morality of the people is running the country for the people and that this slide into doom cannot be halted by the people without intervention from a God who has been forgotten by many.

14 comments:

Steven Cornelius said...

Truly, trying times bring out the true morality (or immoraility) of a people. The best and the worst will show theirselves. That's what we have now. An increasingly immoral society where the decadent behavior of some can be "justified" by their situation being stressful and hopeless. What would we do? Would we run for the bus rather than make sure all the sick and weak had already been transported. Would we take a loaf of bread to feed our family, but leave a note with our name and what we took. Would we blame our leaders for not evacuating soon enough a public place that they so graciously opened up and used as a shelter in the first place. You hit the nail on the head. Many facets of our society are dependent and lack the self-sustaining initiative, let alone the ability to self-sustain.

Calamity Man said...

i agree with you hands down.

it's people who makes things ugly. can't blame anything else. shouldnt blame anything else.

at the end of the day, its down to every individual to show some sense of chivalry.

of course, that isnt happening. it's sad.

i like how you write your blog.

ive decided to put you up on my blog to replace the one i just removed last night (www.atimeandplace.blogspot.com)

the author of that blog is turning into a monster and i dont wanna associate myself with him. have a peek there if you want.

i'm done there.

Darjeelingirl said...

Thank you for all you are doing there. I am trying to collect stories of all the good things God is doing through this horrible tragedy, but before I started that, my first post was a remarkable echo of this one. As I perused your blog, I determined to keep you and that shelter in prayer and yes, I have donated $ too. I pray that all of America will be washed clean by this hurricane.

Patsy in MN

Simple American said...

If I had to define a post that describes American and the thought process of our people, this post would be that definition.

Keep up the good work. I'll be back to read more. And looking forward to it.

pappy said...

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit." Sounds like some bad trees out there.

JIBBS said...

Wow.

Very powerful stuff. Thanks Pastor Brad.

Sojourner said...

In case you did not catch the quote, that was from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. I must be tired. I meant to give proper credit. Also, it was supposed to be indented but it didn't work.

Jason E. Robertson said...

Brad, you are in our prayers over here at Fide-o.

Dr 4LOM said...

Ah a wonderful post. And you're right. This is a government that is designed to be run from the local level on up. The only way to change society is to be active and perform your civic duties of participating in local government. Why is it that barely anyone goes to an election that doesn't include a federal office? Why is it that folks don't even know their own councilmen? Mostly it's because we've all bought in to this ideal that the government is in place and it will run itself just fine. Well that's garbage. Even just the simple effort of voting everytime there's an election, people need to get involved in policy. I hope so much that this is a wake up call for the entire country. Have y'all read the Constitution? I mean that in a couple of ways. I used to carry a copy in my back pocket somewhat as a joke to show people how little they know about their own government, but in truth, we should all know that document like the back of our hands. We should also be familiar with our state constitutions and know who the state level authorities are. Why? Because standing on a corner with a sign and fifty people shouting does nothing but get you in the paper. Real change comes from investing in the powers that are available and following the process to the end. Sure, you may find hours of wasted time should that particular idea get voted down in whatever congress, but just getting those ideas into the government is enough to show those that hold power that we are vital to democracy. It's no wonder Bush can blatantly lie saying things like "the levy broke on Tuesday" and "People were being rescued on Thursday" to make him seem like he's on the ball and not on vacation when in fact those here know the levy broke Monday morning and beautiful people like you Brad Williams were on the spot that day trying to do what they could to help the crisis and save these lives. Were we to actually boycott media that portays sensationalism over real news instead of watching like little children looking to see an action movie that's real, we'd get outlets like Fox news to actually do their job of informing the public. It all starts local though, and I'm as much to blame as any. I consider myself a participant, but what I do is minor compared to what I should. We just all let our lives get in the way, but that's our problem too. We wouldn't live in a society that expects people to be at work more than they are with their families if we put our greed aside and put the simple concerns of family and caring for others on the forefront. I'm a bit liberal compared to what I'm sure most of your readers beliefs lie, but there is one thing that was proven to me when you took me and Susie into your home for no reason by the kindness of your heart. And that's that many liberals want to talk the talk and rant and force the government to do something, but you folks are actually doing it. You actually give to the poor and visit the sick in the hospital and help the elderly and disfortunate in your community, you walk the walk and keep your opinions in your back pocket. And that's more of what we really need. But more importantly, it's not an "Us vs. Them" battle. We all in this country need to learn not to demonize the other party or say that differing opinions are wrong, because that's just a political game we've all been pawns in. We need to really pay attention to what the people we elect believe, but more importantly what they actually do and we need to let all of the differing opinions come together in public forum so true compromise can return our country to that very ideal "Of the people". We need to stop having attack battles and come up with solutions and when one solution doesn't work, we need to halt it immediately and give the other guy's idea a shot. And if it takes that process a hundred times to find the way it needs to be, than that is exactly what the framers of our government had intended. Sorry for taking up so much space, but this is my first comment after the rescue. You could imagine I'm a little excited.

Calamity Man said...

wow doc, a blog within a blog. heh.

Dr 4LOM said...

Well just so you readers know who exactly I am, Me and my friend were taken in by the pastor when we were brought to Plaquemine via a school bus from the refugee camp under the Causeway bridge in New Orleans. Our house was flooded and we had to swim to safety which turned out not to be so safe. Fortunately we had kind people like Pastor Brad and his wonderful wife Amy and the other fine folks in Plaquemine help us along the way to stay alive for several days until we were able to get out of the city. It's a real tragedy to me that all anyone wants to hear about our story is if we saw any dead bodies or if anyone shot at us, when the real story lies in the hearts of these beautiful people that gave anything they could to help those in need. I didn't think I would babble so much, but I'm happy to be a new reader on this blog for obvious reasons.

JIBBS said...

Dr 4Lom

Welcome! Thank God you are okay and I hope to read your "blog within a blog" more often. No problem at all.

Calamity Man said...

for obvious reasons, thats right. me too. i enjoy reading honest, unbiased, and mature commentaries like yours too, doc.

Paula said...

Thanks for saying that the president and the governor are not responsible for wiping noses. you da man.