A Different Perspective
I keep waiting, as I watch the news day after day, of the tragedy in Louisiana, for someone to come forth with my perspective on the whole thing. But, since none have, I take it upon myself to present my own thoughts, though they may bring wrath upon me.
I had parents who lived through the Great Depression. We had seven kids in our family and we each began working at eight years of age, as an assistant paper route deliverer, until we could get our own routes at the age of ten. We did what was needed for ourselves, and never asked for, nor expected a dime. My dad worked in a factory, and volunteered as a fireman. We paid our own way in life and helped others in need. The welfare state did not exist.
Now, I ask you to picture this scenario: You are lying down on the railroad tracks. A voice cries out: ” Get off the tracks, a train is coming.” You ignore the warning. You continue to lie on the tracks, not having the initiative or the brains to get up and move. The warnings come for three straight days. If you won’t walk, others can even move you if you choose. Busses are made available. A great exodus away from the tracks is available. All you have to do is get up and climb aboard. No one can force you to do so, because you live in the greatest country in the world and you have the freedom to lie on the tracks if you choose. If you get up off the tracks and lumber yourself into a bus, you may not know where you are going, or where you will stay when you get there. You may not be assured of three square meals a day, but at LEAST you won’t be laying on the train tracks when the train rumbles over the spot where you lay. Still, you lay on the tracks, and sure enough, a train comes by, bigger and badder than any train in your lifetime, and sure enough, the train runs over you. Now, by some miracle you live. Not only do you live, but you are not injured. So what do you do? You start screaming and carrying on that a train ran over you. All the people who did not get off the tracks begin screaming the injustice of it all with you. Some start looting all the stores, taking the goods of the people who did heed the warning. Even the President of the United States warned you, but due to your own indifference to the warnings, it is now the president’s fault that you find yourself in the situation you are in. Not only is it the president’s fault, but also it is the fault of all the taxpayers in the United States, and your anger only increases because it takes several days to bring in the National Guard, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and all the resources of this great country to assist you. Now I ask you…what’s wrong with this picture? As I watch the TV I note that most of the people are able bodied. In fact, more than able bodied, some are able to run with a TV on their backs. I think that of all the people I saw on TV there were few that could not have walked under their own power over the road and out of New Orleans, to safety. The self same road that a famous reporter is screaming is closed to exodus now. There was plenty of help for those who could not walk, and it was generously offered three days and every day thereafter until the storm hit. I think back to my grandfather and the people on the Oregon Trail. They averaged about twenty miles a day. That would have taken all these people well out of the way of the hurricane. All they had to do was put one foot in front of the other. So, the situation is as it is. Millions, no, billions of dollars are flooding in from our government to assist you. Lucky you. Many schoolteachers are paying out of their own pockets to supply their students with materials that are not provided for them. Lucky you. Because you stayed on the tracks and let the train run over you, you will be provided with food, clothing, housing, and since many went to neighboring states, the people of those places will be providing for you, perhaps for the rest of your lives, as you join the assistance our government provides for you there. You were taxied there by bus so you didn’t even have to use your own two feet for that, either.
And, all around you, everyone is saying, ” those poor, poor people”. Lucky you. I no longer care if I get rotten tomatoes thrown at me for my perspective. Thank God I live in a country where I can state my opinion. Thank God you live in a country where you can lay on the tracks and let a train run over you if you choose, and you can evoke the sympathy of a whole nation and other nations as well. Poor, poor, you.
And yet, even in the face of what I know, and many others know, that you made a rotten decision and lay upon the tracks, we will help you. We will provide for you. We will continue to provide for you. But somewhere, in the back of my mind, at least, is the eternal question, “when will you get your butt off the tracks?”
But, I, also, will provide for you. I sent money, and because I am a member of a team of nurses and paramedics, I have been asked to go and provide services for you, and I will go and do what I can when we are assigned. Those who go will face disease, dysentery, possibly cholera, and more. You will face these diseases also. Wouldn’t it have been easier to get up and walk? Get up and ride? Get the hell out? God gave you a brain and because you chose not to use it, and decided that it is our job to provide for you, no matter what. We are doing that. But it is hard for me to understand why you didn’t just get off the tracks!