How bad is it down in the gulf?--Bad enough that I just received this from a supervisor at work:
"We are receiving reports of an influx of hurricane victims at [healthcare facility]."
So if you're anything like me, you probably read that and thought, "Wow, this is really serious! We'd better all sit down and patiently explain to Republicans how it's their fault for being racist."
I mean, right?
For sheer silliness it's hard to beat this back-and-forth between Ace of Spades and Amanda Marcotte of Pandagon. Ace sez Amanda accuses conservatives of wanting to tar and feather the man who helped evacuate people with a stolen bus--which obviously, we don't. I first read about Stolen Bus Hero here, and I detect an admiring tone from that particular conservative; how 'bout you?
Anyway, Ace gets a little angry:
This little cocksucker claims that we evil racist conservatives are angry because a kid "stole" an abandoned bus and used it to evacuate people.Which, as nearly as I can tell, everyone does.
Who the hell made such a charge? No one, that's who. From the beginning of this mess, conservatives have been pretty solid on the distinction between survival-driven "borrowing" and true looting.
No one is going to bring charges against this kid, asshole. No one is going to call for charges against this kid. You call him a hero. Guess what, idiot? Everyone fucking agrees with you.
That said, I am not seeing where Amanda accuses the right of being against the young hero. She does clumsily try to tie it together with the early looters/finders distinction:
That's not stealing and that's not looting. This is beyond ridiculous. That's heroism. If this kid gets arrested for being a fucking hero and single-handedly saving 100 people, then I am laying the blame on the feet of every stupid asshole who complained about looting.And this being America, Amanda's welcome to do that--but dear sweet heavens above, do not let this woman anywhere near a courtroom, ever. Because in no dimension does "boneheaded officials wanna arrest him" result as effect from the cause of "you know, I thought that guy with the 10 pairs of jeans on his shoulder was a little out of order," or "Could we maybe try not shooting at the rescue helicopters?" or any of the dozens of sane, reasonable objections to actual bad behavior, in New Orleans particularly, that I have read this last week.
Boneheaded officials wanna arrest him because that's bureaucracy, baby. That's government--something progressives generally clamor for more of. Well, you've got it; now do something with it. Write or call the city of New Orleans and tell 'em to quit being boneheaded if you don't like it. Or call the ACLU. Ask your readers--I hear Pandagon has a few--if they know any lawyers in the area who'd jump at the chance to make a national name for themselves for the low, low cost of a little pro bono work--I suspect you'll be flooded, ha ha, with responses to that one.
For the last time: You have a participatory form of government. PARTICIPATE. Or:
When you have made evil the means of survival, do not expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the fodder of the immoral. Do not expect them to produce, when production is punished and looting rewarded. Do not ask, 'Who is destroying the world?' You are.But then, the woman who wrote that was not a progressive, so we can ignore her.
Of course, if a dead Russian immigrant says people gotta take a little repsonsibility, she's just a nut who never got over that whole Soviet Union thing. If a black woman says people gotta take a little responsibility, she's a self-loathing racist:
Back when I was growing up, real men took charge and made decisions. They protected women and children--especially their own children--and got them out of harmís way; out of the way of things like hurricanes, especially when they had days of advance warning. And if they made the wrong decision, they tried to make things right and/or took the consequences. Like young Jabbar Gibson. [Oh, hey, didn't we tar and feather that boy yet?--ed.]The response from various commenters then proceeds to blow your mind, and not in the fun way:
They didnít expect someone else to be the protectoróbe the manóand then whine about how the substitute man wasnít being the substitute man fast enough.
No one should wonder that gangs of thieves, terrorists, rapists and murderers plagued the refugees. Such are the rotten fruit of fatherless societies--societies with a dearth of real men.
And so on and so forth.
You fucking right wing dirtball. What a disgusting piece of shit the average Republican is, and you're no exception. Fuck you. So, would you cringe if Jews in concentration camps didn't stand up for themselves? Do you think a leader should have arisen at Auschwitz to combat the Nazis? Was there something defective in their society that let them be persecuted by the Germans? Here we go again with "blame the victim" and the thinly veiled racism.
What Baldilocks is describing--the scenes of men complaining that no one will help them, the mothers clearly without fathers--is applicable specifically to the people of New Orleans, many of whom are black.
But what she's describing generally is the inevitable consequence of decades of rewarding dependence and passivity while punishing independence and action.
That's what states do (and by "states," I do not mean specifically these united ones but governments in general), the more power you give them. It is difficult for states to manage large numbers of people; it is impossible for them to manage large numbers of people who are independent, self-motivated, and active. When you clamor for states to exhibit more of those qualities themselves--be more active on our behalf! Do more without having to be told! Decide what's best without all that dithering and filibustering!--you necessarily decrease those qualities in the populace. So help me, I didn't make that rule. It just is.
Be more active on our behalf! means you empower government to decide what "your behalf" is.
Do more without having to be told! means you empower government to take action without first seeking your input.
Decide what's best without all that dithering and filibustering! means you empower government to ignore opposing viewpoints and conflicting data.
This is what you wanted. This is what you get. It's not racist for Baldilocks to report what the news is showing her and react to it. It is racist to take any minority group and declare it a ward of the state, sentence it to permanent childhood, deny it independence.
Which, when you apologize for behavior in one group that you wouldn't tolerate from a member of your own group--when you make the "they cain't help it, the poor oppressed Negroes" argument--is what you're doing.
A VERY NONGROWNUP UPDATE: It's remarked upon in the comments at Pandagon that Ace didn't leave a trackback.
Yeah, you know, funny thing 'bout that: I recently turned off trackback autodiscovery, so I have to enter trackback links manually. On purpose.
And there's only one trackback link in this post that doesn't want to go through. Which one could it be?
Good thing Pandagon doesn't have a reputation for similar prior incidents, or folks might get to wondering just exactly whose dissent is being crushed by whom.
MORE GROWNUPPER UPDATE: Then again, maybe the Red Cross shouldn't be your pick for charitable giving:
There were several busses full of survivors from Louisiana brought to Georgia Tech tonight. As the first bus load arrived, there was an owner from a local restaurant there with enough hot meals for everyone. He was turned away and told that the Red Cross had enough rations, and he'd be better off selling the meals and sending the cash instead. This was told to others as they brought truckloads of diapers, clothes, toiletries, blankets, compassion, understanding and love. Those that offered to open their homes to them were told to put their names on a list until they could screen the people to see who could be trusted with other people.Read the whole thing. Thanks to Diamond Dave, guestposting at Snooze Button Dreams. Posted by Ilyka at September 4, 2005 05:30 PM in hell is other people | TrackBack