As we start a new decade, I think about some huge catastrophic events that unfolded during the last 10 years. Then, I get irritated because, right behind these thoughts comes the idea of how "we" reacted at the time, and in the aftermath of such events. 3 huge stories come to mind...
9/11- Easily the most horrifying attack on the U.S., ever. The gamut of emotions was run, at first... Fear, shock, confusion, anger, patriotism, sadness. You name it, we probably felt all of it at one time or another. At this time, I was a manager at a "retail Home Improvement Warehouse." I sold countless American flags, that whole month. "Old Glory" was flying off the shelves at an alarming rate. We could not keep up with the demand. Patriotism was at an all-time high. We were nice to our neighbors. We appreciated and complimented anyone who we saw in a military uniform.
After a month, the "old" Americans showed up. People bought flags as a "fashion statement." I personally know someone who had an American flag, made by Tommy Hilfiger. That was not a joke. And...they BRAGGED about having a Hilfiger flag!
You gotta be fuckin' kidding me!
Our selfish and lackadaisical ways returned among the masses. If it wasn't for TSA, we'd be ripe for the pickings again. If you don't believe that, witness the "White House Party Crashers" that got way too close to President Obama. What if those people were suicide bombers? We'd still be talking about what the President meant to our history. Of course, that would be in a posthumous tense.
Let's move forward.
Hurricane Katrina- The deadliest storm in U.S. History. The situation was appalling. We all saw the images of people trapped in attics of flooded homes, dead bodies floating in the street, and the carnage in the Superdome, in New Orleans. But, guess what? Unless you were personally affected, how many of us felt anything other than, "Damn. That's fucked up?" I would bet there's more of you than would be willing to admit it. That city is STILL affected, 5 years later. The Saints going to the Super Bowl is the worse thing that can happen for the city. I say this because it will make more people forget about the real tragedy still going on there. FEMA was and still is worthless. Maybe the media will spin the whole "Look how far New Orleans has come, since Katrina. It is on the cusp of a Super Bowl title!" That's great, if the Vince Lombardi trophy feeds the people still struggling to eat every day, or shelters some of the people that still don't have homes.
Now, let's fast forward, one more time.
Haiti Earthquake- The images that this catastrophe has generated, are so difficult to watch. I am a big, burly "man's man", not easily moved to tears. But, when I saw a report on a little girl that was trapped in rubble, and that the rescuers were at a loss for what to do, without amputating her leg...I almost let some tears go. I am not afraid to admit that my eyes became a little moist. You could hear the little girl screaming in pain, behind the reporter, who was also visibly shaken. They did manage to get the little girl out without amputating. And there are more people being rescued every day. I have a huge amount of admiration for the resolve of the people of Haiti. What I don't admire is, not even 2 weeks after the massive death and destruction, people are making jokes. I will not dignify them by repeating them here. But, this is nothing but "FOUL."
Imagine if you lost someone in tragedies like those mentioned above. If someone had jokes about it, you'd likely be prepared to kill. Especially when it's still new and raw.
But, hell... We'll forget all about, in 2 weeks. This when the unofficial national holiday, known as the Super Bowl rolls around again. We won't be thinking about anything but which party we're going to, or how much we can win by betting on the game.
We spoiled Americans can really be assholes sometimes...