Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Op Ed

I've been watching and reading about those California wildfires in the news this past week and it is enough to give me visions of Armageddon and make me think that it is the beginning of the end. And I came across this website OpEdNews with this interesting op ed news article written by Mary MacElveen yesterday. And I wanted to comment on it but it seems to be commentary itself. And it seems to be about compassion and humanity. This text stayed with me afterwards so much after reading it that I thought to repost it as follows.

It never surprises me when I see posters on AOL lash out at victims who have lost everything in the California wildfires as they did with Katrina victims. In reading some of these comments one ugly person has the gall to say, “Who friggin cares” and goes onto say, “Enough already!” I just don’t get this mindset. Doesn’t he realize that was someone’s home which included all of their worldly assets? Those assets included items such as family mementos’ which are now lost forever. Yes, I realize they are things, but often things tie us to one another. At family gatherings some will often use these mementos’ to reminisce of past events that were shared collectively. Lost in many of those homes are china sets passed down from generation to generation and as we come up on Thanksgiving, absent will be these sets of china. Native-Americans are known for their custom of oral histories in which family members would gather round to tell of one’s family history so that the next generation knows where they come from. Can using anyone of these items destroyed by fire take away from such a custom? One poster showed absolutely no compassion when he posted, “Katrina improved that trashy city. These people in southen cal are good upstanding hard working people. Its time to help them out America.” I will not even correct his spelling mistakes, but let them stand as is. Having written two columns called “The Voices of Katrina”, those affected by Katrina were also hard working citizens. New Orleans was never a “trashy city” but one that is filled with so much history and culture. This same poster shows his true ugly racist colors when he stated, “I feel bad for the white people that have lost their homes.” He is coming from the depths of hate. Then your typical Republican VS Democrat debate comes in as well as any comments that may come from Rev. Pat Robertson as people’s possessions go up in flames. Please get a grip since those affected by these fires are all of us. As you sit and try to divide, they are clinging together for comfort and giving each other aid when they may have lost everything. In reading all of these diatribes, one person who lives in California had this to add, "I can't believe ignorant people are posting and bashing Californians, don’t you fools know that wildfires do not discriminate? Rich neighborhoods, average neighborhoods, and poor neighbors from Santa Barbara to San Diego are being burned to the ground. I'll say it again, the fire does not discriminate. I'm a native Californian, born and raised in So Cal all my life. Wildfires are fairly common down here, but these ones are bad-- the worst I've ever seen. Everyone in So Cal is effected one way or another-- whether it be by the flames or smoke. I go to college in Orange County and our classes are cancelled because of it. This is bad...and the only thing that can help is a shift in the weather." I could identify with his frustration having read what the ugly people did write. So, below was my response back to him. I first want to say that ignorance seems to rule the day even in these horrific events. I would like to know where people's compassion is as they lose everything they have worked for. Wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes do not discriminate. They are a force of nature. Those who are bashing Californians are sitting safely in their own homes at their own computers and not realizing that can be taken away from them in an instant. I read similar rants directed at the people of New Orleans and the surrounding areas during Katrina. Many of these ugly people belong to a new generation of heartless people who only care to strike out in ignorance. Those of America's 'Greatest Generation' would have rolled up their sleeves seeing how they could help out. I long for the days when America can be restored to that mindset.
There is an age old saying, “Walk a mile in my shoe” and those who can sit and judge those affected by these fires and Katrina in a negative tone, one must ask this; have you walked a mile in their shoes? Do you know what it is like to lose everything in an instant only to have your misery bashed by others? I think that some Americans need to grow up and seek the advice of those who are still apart of America’s ‘Greatest Generation’. This group of people were the can do Americans and would not have reacted in such a juvenile and hateful manner. To the people of California, my prayers and sympathies go out to you all as they did with those who suffered through Katrina. Seek comfort in those that come to your aid and dismiss the rest who have no heart.
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Larry Keiler said...

I went to a Tower of Power concert in my hometown on Monday Ontario...Canada. Everybody was having a great time listening to a great band. And then the singer asked us all to keep the trumpet player in our prayers because his house had burned down that day.

Can you imagine being on tour, thousands of miles away from home, obligations etc. and you lose your home and can't go home because you have this gig and can't leave the band stranded?

The wave of sympathy from the audience was audible.

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