Well, well, well.... Where do I begin?
What exactly is the topic of this post anyway? Is it a scathing attack on the victims of a horrible natural disaster who truly need aid or is it an expression of contempt for people who are habitually dependent on the government? I have no desire to address the latter, but having seen the former firsthand I have much to say. I am not sure why both categories of people are mentioned in a post entitled "Our Give Me Society", for even though you say that you sympathize with the hurricane victims, the fact that you include them in a post titled as such says otherwise.
To say that victims of this disaster are "yelling" and "tiresome" must be an easy thing for you to do as you watch the images on your TV from the comfort of your living room chair. If you find these images so tiresome, why don't you just turn the TV off? You can, you know. After all, you have electricity, a TV, and a roof over your head. Why don't you come up here and see firsthand what people are living with? See the truth. The reality. These people are not yelling for nothing. For many, life and health are in jeopardy, for themselves and their families, which include children, the elderly, and the infirm . They yell out of sheer frustration. No matter where a natural or man-made disaster occurs, I support the victims in any way that I can, and I also keep them in my prayers. I never feel that people are yelling or complaining needlessly. If I have not walked in someone else's shoes, I don't dare judge them.
Because people around the world live with hardship on a daily basis, does that mean that people who have lost their homes and all of their possessions due to a natural disaster have no right to complain? What does one thing have to do with the other? I wonder if some of you would speak so high and mighty if you lost your home, all of your clothes and maybe some of your loved ones and friends as well. Maybe you heard the story about the mother whose two small children were ripped from her arms by an eight-foot wave. I still can't accept that one. When you get tired of watching the people yell on your TV, why not click on this link for fun http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hoWs...feature=relmfu
But I guess that you will watch this and smugly say that she should not have been out there and that she got what she deserved, which brings me to my next point.
You have open contempt because some people chose not to evacuate. The implication is that they got what they deserved. How horrible. People who stayed did not deserve this. In areas where evacuation was not mandatory, these people made their decisions based on many factors, and they thought that they were doing the right thing. That's just the thing with decisions; you don't know if they are the right ones until after the fact. If they were the wrong decisions that was tragic, but it still doesn't mean that these people got what they deserved.
You say that people should help themselves. Again, because of the lack of focus in this post as mentioned in my opening, I don't know if you are referring to the people affected by the hurricane or the people in the latter category mentioned above. If this is meant for the hurricane victims, I must say that people are trying to help themselves, but what exactly is it that you think they should be doing? Are they supposed to search for and carry water? Okay, but where would they find uncontaminated water? If they find dirty water, where exactly should they boil it? I guess they should boil it on the fires that you suggest they build. Fine, but where are they supposed to safely build these fires that you write about? You obviously have no knowledge of what the area in which we live even looks like. Our society is what it is. We have electricity, heat, and hot water. Should we be made to feel that we are being unreasonable when we ask that these basics be provided to us? After all, we pay for each and every one of them. Maybe you'd like to see my bills. There is no handout here.
Your suggestion that people move to higher ground and rebuild is neither reasonable nor practical. Furthermore, many of the flooded areas were in locations that weren't even considered risky ones. I guess California should not be inhabited at all because of the possibility of earthquakes, and tornado-prone areas should also be uninhabited. Do you get the idea? There is no place on this planet that is 100% safe. Unprecedented natural catastrophic events are happening with increasing frequency and in places where they had not occurred before, perhaps due to global warming. So before you think that you are so safe and secure in your little neck of the woods, think twice. You may not be so safe after all. Natural disasters can, and will, happen everywhere. Wait until it is your turn, my friends. Remember, that what you put out is what you get back. I wonder if you would want to feel some of the contempt and disgust that you spew if you were in these people's shoes.
While my neighbors and I did not suffer property damage, we did have to live without power for six days and we did, in fact, help ourselves. We bonded together and helped each other out. We survived through very cold temperatures. My mother, who has heart disease, did not have an easy time. I wonder how you'd feel if it were your mother? By the way, I learned that I can get $300.00 from FEMA to replace the food that I lost, but I won't even pursue it because I feel that I do not truly need that money and that it should go to someone who does. I am by no means anywhere near wealthy, but I can manage and would feel guilty accepting money. I can earn more of my own money. So much for me being part of a "Give Me" Society!
People with whom I speak keep saying how "lucky" they are or how "blessed" they are to have experienced only a loss of power such as I did from the hurricane, but I never say that or feel that. How can I possibly feel lucky when other people suffered such catastrophic losses? We are all part of the human condition, and when one person suffers we all suffer. Did any of you ever read John Donne? Further, to have the nerve to say that you are lucky or blessed implies that others are not lucky or not blessed, and all of the implications that go along with that sort of thinking are just too wrong to even think about.
This sort of self-righteous mindset reminds me of what people said about New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Some said that it was a punishment from God because New Orleans was an immoral place because of Mardi Gras. Imagine speaking for God (who has the right to do that?) and suggesting that those people deserved what they got. People sometimes say that others deserve these things because if they don't then those things can happen to them.
Don't forget that we New Yorkers and others on the east coast are pretty tough. We have lived through other terrible weather events, crippling snowstorms in particular. We also lived through 911, which, in some ways, was far more horrible on so many levels. I live only about five miles from ground zero. The ashes from everything that burned (and I do mean everything), rained down on my neighborhood. So don't imply that we are extra-devastated because we've never experienced anything like this and have had an easy life or that we have not had anything like this happen in a long time. Two years ago we had one of the worst snowstorms in history which crippled our city for days, but, alas, we survived.
To those of you who write of the terrible adversities that you've overcome, let me tell you that I have had a few of my own, but I don't look for sympathy or validation. I pretty much keep them a secret and feel grateful for having survived because they've made me stronger. I am lucky to even be alive today. I choose to work rather than to be one of those people who chooses to live off of the government. I have earned every one of my material possessions and could just as easily live without them if I had to. I have my priorities straight.
Compassion, my friends. For those of you who get the "warm fuzzies" when you watch the devastation on the news, I caution you to keep the schadenfreude in check. Happy Karma!