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.
We Must Do the Impossible
4 years ago