On vacation, I've been kind of insulated from news coverage. I had some data work to do today, and I turned on CNN to keep my mind occupied while I did routine tasks in Excel and SPSS.
The coverage was really, really upsetting. I could rant and rave for hours, I could talk about how when we try to get something for nothing, when we wage war while cutting taxes and ignoring the poor and hoping for the best, I could talk about that. I could talk about the open letter Michael Moore sent to the president today. I could talk about how my heart shattered every time they talked about how many infants had died in the superdome and how many corpses were outside the convention center and I could talk about what I wanted to do when I heard that they had sent the guard in, not to bring food and water but to stop looters, with orders to shoot to kill. When C-Span turned away from the smug republican press conference when someone asked what they say to people who see black faces being left to suffer and die and they start to wonder if it's not because this suffering is happening to black and poor Americans. And when I heard that relief supply distribution points in Biloxi are in places only accessible by car. Or how I cheered when I heard the Congressional Black Caucus speak the truth.
Or I could just tell you that I cried.
I don't normally blog about tragedies like this. I don't typically cry at the news. I often yell, and almost invariably roll my eyes, but I've managed to harden myself a bit to it all. I didn't cry after 9/11, even though it happened outside my parents' living room window. But this is too much, too big, and most of all, too terribly wrong. We HAVE the resources, no one can say that we haven't, to save human lives. And we're not. And it makes me want to scream and cry all at the same time.
There's little I can do, in this reality here, but there are a couple of things.
If you know anyone within driving distance from the tragedy, there's a wonderful effort connecting people with housing with those who are displaced. Being in Mass., I can't be of much help, but if you're near and you can, please consider volunteering your space. Go to http://www.hurricanehousing.org.
Air America has some great links and is coordinating a wonderful effort to connect people by phone, a more practical method than the Internet-based attempts. If you know anyone who is looking for someone, or know anyone who might have someone trying to reach them, call 1-888-217-6255 and you can leave information linked to a non-working phone number. A very smart idea.
Or if, like me, your connections to the Big Easy are in the deep past (my father went to college and then lived there for a while, and was involved in civil rights work during that time), and you can't make any direct offers of help, we at least can offer a donation in hopes that someone can help.