You, Me & Everyone Else

Hurricane Katrina reared its ugly head once again, although you may have missed it. The mainstream media was seemingly exhausted after the past several weeks of sensational tripe parading as news. The song goes like this: after the ensuing cluster fuck of Katrina, many foreign countries offered aid in the forms money, supplies, and other items sorely needed. Word on the street is that over $800 million was offered, yet only $44 million was actually accepted (as an aside, taxpayers have coughed up $125 billion in Katrina aid thus far). In addition, an Italian ship replete with medical supplies languished until its contents were deemed unusable and discarded. Many countries chose to donate directly to private organizations (such as the Red Cross) so their gifts would be utilized more efficiently. If this doesn’t give you the warm and fuzzies, I just don’t know what will.

The obvious question is why. Why would the United States government, sentry of the greatest country in the world™, let its own citizens wallow in squalid conditions, helpless, when aid was readily available? Could it be the sheer incompetence that is a hallmark of the Bush clan? Or maybe it was due to a lack of interest? Too much paperwork involved? Or perhaps it was something more sinister? Was it really because a vast number of the indigent were black and poverty stricken?

Another question looming on the horizon: why is this not bigger news? To me, this appeared to be the linchpin in the case against the Bush administration. But I get the overwhelming sense that people just do not care (barring those directly affected, of course). Just after the storm touched down, a lot of us decried the victims for not leaving sooner, not comprehending the abject poverty many of these people were faced with. Many commented that it was the job of the local government to help its citizens, and while I concur, I don’t think that relieves the federal government of responsibility when the local government fails.

I was appalled by the president’s rapid response to the carnage at Virginia Tech in relation to his bungling of all affairs in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. It’s telling that when there is real work to be done, i.e. rebuilding, proffering supplies, etc. the president was notoriously MIA. But when the gesture was wholly symbolic, as in VA Tech, where there was little to do other than mourning balefully and attending many Kumbaya tinged candle light vigils, Mr. Bush was more than willing to dust off one of his stock speeches and say a few words for the cameras.

All this talk of rich and poor brings to mind another buried story of late. The burgeoning gap between the wealthy and everyone else continues to widen dramatically, with the wealthiest 1% of the population holding the highest percentage of wealth. The last time such a thing happened was in 1928, just before the great depression.

Perhaps you are wondering who the one percenters actually are. Well, these would be the presidents of corporations, CEOs, and other modern day robber barons who probably keep pets that live better than you or me. Dick Cheney is a one percenter, as illustrated by his hunting accident that occurred last year, wherein he “peppered” a friend in the face with his shotgun. Just after the incident, local law enforcement officials attempted to question the VP (after all, he had been drinking) but were turned away by the secret service. What do you think would have happened had Dick’s name been Jerome or Luis or Dale? The man would not have made it back to his car. A SWAT team would have rappelled from the tree tops and began beating him in rotation.

Of course, we’re not supposed to talk about this. It’s not real news. Real news is the aforementioned school shooting, or a large breasted, septic junkie overdosing expectedly. Real news is an irrelevant radio personality insulting college students and the subsequent feeding frenzy of book deals and talk show appearances. Real news is a million dollar thorough bred breaking its leg and ceasing to be a money machine for its owners (no doubt also part of that storied one percent). Millions of donations and well wishes poured in for that damnable horse, yet 46 million Americans went without health insurance in 2005.

There seems to be a steady ticking off of the often heralded ideals when attempting to illustrate the greatness of America . Things like freedom of speech, the veracity of the press, a right to privacy, blind justice, and compassion for those less fortunate have fallen out of favor in the realm of public opinion. Even more troubling is the ease with which these ideals were given up. The complacent American does not wish to be roused from his slumber, no matter what is happening outside his door.

Stacie Adams is an unassuming and introverted young woman with plans to take over the world and make it tolerable. Her heroes are few, but precious: Bill Hicks, Nat Turner, Orson Welles, and Hunter S. Thompson. She detests useless celebrity, bureaucracy, and unfettered stupidity. "I am disgustingly provincial and I’ve never stepped foot outside the US, but it is my dream to travel the world. My favorite beer is Red Stripe, my favorite movie Irreversible. I’ve seen Evil Dead 2 over 100 times. I am an encyclopedia of trivial facts and figures." She can be reached at: Read other articles by Stacie, or visit Stacie's website.

3 comments on this article so far ...

Comments RSS feed

  1. Azra said on May 22nd, 2007 at 8:00am #

    You know, I was just wondering if there wasn’t any law requiring hunters who ‘accidentally’ shoot other two-legged critters to forfeit their licences or face some kind of penalty, and how this would affect Dick Cheney, and if it did, why I didn’t hear about it. Darn one-percenters!

    Your post’s really insightful, I mean, a guy up and shoots 32 students and the world goes into mourning. We lose lives every single day in Iraq and it’s just one of those bits of ticker tape news that you’d miss if you blinked while it scrolled by.

    It might be racism, it might be stupidity, it might be arrogance, it might even be greed, I just chalk it all up to human nature.

  2. mutterhals said on May 22nd, 2007 at 11:51am #

    There has to be such a law, and even if there isn’t, it is definitely forbidden to drink and hunt, which ol’ dickface copped to after the incident.

  3. Reed Richards said on July 26th, 2007 at 10:44pm #


    Human nature you say? Well, that only happens because the commoners make it so………..