Stateside With Rosalea: Glimpses
From Thursday morning's SF Chronicle: Louis Delasorsse, 38, had been at the Superdome since it opened. "It's no picnic staying here. My real heartache is I don't know about my mother, grandfather or grandmother. They wanted to stay at home. I begged them to come with me, but they wouldn't."
Made me think of the previous night's newscast in which a man had driven back to Gulfport, Mississippi, and was pointing out the houses he owned that had been destroyed: his, his brother's, his mother's. How did his family come to have so many homes? I'm guessing that not only was it because his family were old-timers there but also because of the pawnshop he owned just across the street.
In America, the poor are just human ATMs for landlords, pawnbrokers, credit sharks, Big Pharma, health insurance companies, or telecommunications companies. The very people who complain about folks on welfare are the same as those who suck every welfare penny out of their wallets.
I had the following conversation today with an African American postal worker in the mailbox lobby of my local post office. He came out of the windowless door by the mailboxes, which I happened to be standing close to and had to jump away from to avoid being hit.
"Excuse me," he apologised. "No, I'm sorry," I said, "I shouldn't have been standing so close to the door. There's a sign on it telling me not to." "That still doesn't give me the right to hit you with the door," he said. The only polite response to that was, "Yes, you're right about that," and a smile.
His response to my apology for not obeying an instruction and thereby putting myself in harm's way illustrates the gulf in world views here in America. In his culture, you should mind the rules, but if you don't that doesn't make you less than a human being who deserves to be punished on top of the punishment your behaviour has already meted out to you.
This beggars belief: The mayor of New Orleans orders a mandatory evacuation of the city but doesn't evacuate the prisoners in jail, and the Louisiana governor is complaining about the bad impression *looters* are giving the state?
God bless America by having Katrina lift the scales from her eyes, is all I can say.