Tuesday, August 29, 2006

our national shame

I was born just after Dwight D. Eisenhower took office as President of the United States.

In the time I have lived I have seen many things happen. Some of them were wonderful. Some of them were horrible.

When I was still in grade school, a President was assassinated. Over the next few years, a brilliant man who wanted America to live up to the promise of freedom and equality it held aloft for all in the world, and the slain president's brother who likewise dreamed of the future greatness of our nation were both also gunned down.

For many years our country fought a wrong war for the wrong reasons leading to the deaths of thousands and thousands of our brave servicemen and women and schism and division between the people of our country that affects our political scene negatively to this day.

A criminal president was brought down for violating his oath of office and breaking the laws of the Constitution he was sworn to uphold.

One of America's first true spaceships exploded during launch, killing all aboard in a searing burst of flame. Less than a score of years later, the sister ship of the downed spacecraft burned up during re-entry with another loss of precious human cargo.

A huge underwater earthquake so roiled the waters of the Pacific Ocean that it rose up and engulfed thousands of square miles and hundreds of thousands of human lives in a disaster like no other seen in recent times.

All of these things have been tragic and sad and will forever be a part of the memories of my existence.

They pale in comparison to the two most horrible things I have seen in my life.

Five years ago a handful of people took over four civilian aircraft. In a few short hours, they were able to turn several skyscrapers covering sixteen acres of central Manhattan and nearly three thousand citizens into smouldering piles of debris as well as seriously damaging the nerve center of the United States armed forces.

Last year, an important American port city was virtually destroyed in a predictable and predicted natural catastrophe. The government's response was embarrassing. For weeks on our news programs, we saw the bodies of American citizens bobbing in the flooded streets, covered in blankets on sidewalks, hanging from trees and from fences, until people simply became numb to the horror of it all.

Five years later, there is still a gaping wound in the center of New York City. It has been cleaned and debrided, but is now just sitting there as a stark reminder of a few hours of national horror.

One year later, the city of New Orleans has yet to be cleaned. Thousands of abandoned and destroyed houses and vehicles cover hundreds of square miles. A small percentage of residents have returned, and the demographic and ethnicity of the city and its heritage will forever be changed.

Neither one of these situations is acceptable. New York City needs to be rebuilt properly and with utmost haste. New Orleans needs to be rebuilt and every single displaced person needs to be assisted in getting some semblance of normalcy back in their lives. All that we get from the government of the country is platitudes and promises, as they continue to suck the resources of this nation into the pockets of the wealthy patrons who contribute to their continued political power.

That the American populace tolerate this incompetent and malevolent administration is the single biggest stain on the honor of America in its history.

I still should have many years left to live. I do not see how it would be possible for me to see any greater degradation of my home country. I hope I'm right.


Blogger Ronni said...

I hope so, too, Milo!

I agree with you about all of that, except I'm sort of down the rabbit hole about 9/11.

Still, whoever caused it, it was horrible.

What has happened in NO has brought out the worst in this country. I hope it gets better.

9:14 AM  

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