A locus for eccentrics (hopefully)

Friday, February 10, 2006

random gibberish

Well it's been an interesting day. First off, it actually rained today, which is certainly a rarity here in Tejas. Second, I'd been following the Senate hearings on the Katrina debacle. Apparantly, everyone dropped the fucking ball on that one. You can read about it in much more depth on NYT or AP than I can provide, but let's just say it was the reaction itself was catastrophic. No mandatory evacuation announced until SUNDAY; Brown calls the White House Monday night to report that the shit has totally hit the fan, contradicting their statements that they didn't even know about it until Tuesday night or something; no contigency plan ("10% ready in August); no supplies to provide survivors. How would we ever be able to stop an attack on our soil again? Oh, that's right, thus the pre-emptive strike...now it all makes sense.


Anyway, so I got worked up about that and went to lunch with some "colleagues." I started talking about the hearings, and after I got done, one person at the table started his diatribe against, well, blacks and New Orleans. Not only are they "lazy" (his words), but they decided to live in the path of the hurricane so they should be the ones to bail themselves out of this mess, not us "hard-working blue-blooded Americans, Goddammit!" I got pissed but realized that this would never turn into a discussion--he knew he was right, and damn if he wasn't gonna try to show the err in my logic. So I shut my mouth to not cause a scene.

So I've been thinking about his argument. He's tired of "bailing out" them lazy sons-of-bitches who live a life of leisure along the Gulf of Mexico. There's a lot of problems inherent in that observation in and of itself. But let's extend this thought. He doesn't want his tax dollars going to issues that don't really have anything to do with him and don't directly benefit him. Huh. Ummmmmmm can somebody say "farming subsidies?" Sure they're a hard-working, morally righteous, mean-and-potato lot. But how in God's name does paying a bunch of farmers to produce food that is not needed by anyone help us? That's "our" tax dollars going to benefit, essentially, people who make a totally symbolic product. It helps no one. Yet it's that illusion of the hard working farmer that everyone doesn't even question. And of course, the votes that this demographic represents. You know they all vote. A valuable group.

But let's extend this further: he's from the midwest. I wonder how he feels about all his hard-earned tax dollars going straight into the Dept. of Homeland Security's coffers? Does this bother him, or is it okay because it is ostensibly to fight terrorists (though one might argue that it simply allows hurricane to reach their maximum destructive course, a la NOLA)? But why should his tax dollars be used to fund anti-terrorist activities if his town in rural Illinois would never be targeted? How you like them apples? In the same way that your tax dollars are "wasted" and spent on coastal communities, they are also "wasted" and spent on large urban cities.

I guess what really irks me in the end, is not only how common this opinion must be in the United States, but how it reflects such a messed up view of governance and nationhood. You can't just ignore certain factions because they're imperfect; they still are part of the country. I guess this is falling on deaf ears, but I just realized how messed up this place really fucking is. I need to move back to Africa. At least people there are civilized.

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