Hurricane Katrina was truly an act of God. God in His own way reveals things to us and forces us to act upon them no matter how reluctant we are. A reporter from the Chicago Tribune nailed it on the head when she stated that the current administration in Washington had done their dead-level best to perpetuate poverty in America as a myth, but Katrina washed these huddled masses onto our screens.
Now the president has said that we must confront poverty with bold action, yet he has at the same time repealed the Davis-Bacon Act, which would have paid Mississippians $11 an hour to help rebuild the Gulf Coast. The president also signed off on closing the Pascagoula Naval Station, guaranteeing that 800 Mississippians will have to find a new job.
Giving a person a one-time check will help in the short-term, but what security will they have when that runs out? The political party that has historically condemned government aid programs is now relying on them for political appeasement to bridge a divide that has widened in the aftermath of the storm.
We have to have bold initiatives, not temporary fixes, which will raise some taxes and lower others, to create opportunities for housing, jobs, education and even long-term planning so we will never be caught in this vulnerable position again. More importantly, if we are going to tackle poverty head-on, then we should abandon the political mindset that has tainted American politics, especially in this region. Instead of giving multi-million dollar federal contracts to political contributors in a no-bid process, open the door for all businesses, primarily those that would employ those that need gainful employment, to participate fully in the process. It worked in Atlanta, Chicago and Detroit. Why can it not work in Mississippi?
Just the thought of awarding Halliburton a dime in federal funds while they are in the middle of a U.S. Senate hearing concerning past accounting practices smacks of a true disconnect between the president's words and deeds. The time has come for a change, not because of political will, but because of God's will.
I will personally be involved in the process of rebuilding Mississippi, but despite the good will that has been shown and the competent leadership the Governor has displayed, it will be a struggle. If the political mindset of no new taxes remains prevalent, then it will be a struggle. If the philosophy of prioritizing the needs of the few over the needs of the many continues, then it will be a struggle.
This crisis existed before Katrina blew her first wind. Mississippi has been the poorest state in the nation for at least four decades. It is up to us to make uplifting words noble actions. It is only then that we can triumphantly say we have rebuilt Mississippi and that His will is being done on Earth, as it is in Heaven.
If Katrina were an act of God, I would hate to imagine what the devil might have done. While am more concerned with this administrationís perpetuating poverty as a myth via their policies, I can only stare blankly at anyone accrediting Katrina with having opened their eyes to what is reality for anyone who dares venture to ìthe other side of the tracksî so to speak.
And being that there is an ìother side of the tracksî in every state, this applies to every sate in this great land!
- K RHODES
If Katrina were an act of God, I would hate to imagine what the devil might have done.
Quote o' the Week, K.
My guess is that it could only be an act of God if God felt the need to do something very dramatic to get people's attention about what they are doing to (or not doing for) the least of God's children. But I'm not arguing that that's the case, mind you. I believe it was an act of nature that we have the vast resources to have been more prepared for.
That brings me to the second part of your comment: I agree with you (I believe). It is downright unbelievable that people live in such denial that they don't understand that such poverty exists. And you're right: it does exist in every state and every major city. It's not a southern thing exclusively, but it is a worse problem hereóin large part because we have done less to deal with our bigotry and racism. It's about both class and race, peeps.
On the other hand, I will not bash people for just now waking upóas long as they wake up.
Again, I highly, highly recommend that everyone listen to last Sunday's Speaking of Faith program on "Seeing Poverty After Katrina." Please. You won't regret it (unless you're evil). I promise.
And please, please read the excerpt from Dr. Hilfiker's book on "Poverty in Urban America: Its Causes and Cures".
Seeing then that I will cut off from thee the righteous and the wicked, therefore shall my sword go forth out of his sheath against all flesh from the south to the north. Ezekiel 21:4
That all flesh may know that I the Lord have drawn forth my sword out of his sheath: it shall not return anymore. Ezekiel 21:5
Behold, a whirlwind of the Lord is gone forth in fury, even a grevious whirlwind: it shall fall greviously upon the head of the wicked. Jeremiah 23:19
The anger of the Lord shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly. Jeremiah 23:20
And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Revelation 9:20
NEITHER REPENTED THEY OF THEIR MURDERS, NOR OF THEIR SORCERIES, NOR OF THEIR FORNICATIONS, NOR OF THEIR THEFTS.
Ewwww. I'll pull out my Bible verses later.
I heard an AFR commentator (don't ask me why I was AFR'ing. I know better. It just makes me dislike the church, and I love the church.) say that he's not saying that God brought Katrina, but God could have stopped it.
Wow. What about all those Texas people? Same "wrath" there? What about little kids who get cancer? God could have stopped that one! I could go on and on.
One thing I think for sure is that this storm has been a test of character, and I'm amazed at those who are failing miserably and using the name of God in the process.
Ladd ñ îOn the other hand, I will not bash people for just now waking upóas long as they wake up.î
I agree with not bashing people as long as they indeed wake up. I also recommend people read the excerpt from Dr. Hilfiker's book, especially young people.
- K RHODES
K, however, I do understand the frustration, don't get me wrong. It's easy to be cynical and say WHAT DIDN'T YOU FRIGGIN' PAY ATTENTION BEFORE IT GOT THIS BAD? HOW COULD YOU VOTE FOR A PRESIDENT (OR A GOVERNOR) WHO SHOWS NO INTEREST IN REVERSING POVERTY? HOW COULD YOU IGNORE POVERTY:
Sorry for the screaming.
But, what matters is what we do right now and going forward. The truth is, Katrina is bringing out the best in good people and the worst in bad people. Good people are saying, 'my God, why didn't I pay more attention before? What can I do to change this?' and bad people are blaming the poor for being poor and not having bootstraps to yank themselves up by. Our heroes are more heroic, and our bigots are more racist. Say what you will about the old girl, but that Katrina is one huge mirror in front of our collective faces.
I'll say it again, friends: Notice how people around you react. Call them out. But, most importantly, heed the call to get involved in the communityóthe whole community. If you're white, cross Gallatin, so to speak. If you're black, reach out and pull people toward you, rather than push them away because they didn't know what they should have known already.
I truly believe that if God had a purpose with this storm, and perhaps the next one, it is to teach us how to live together better and heed all those lessons about the least among us who are much more important than those greedy money-changers. Calling people who care about other people ugly names has just gone out of style. It's so 2003. And amid all the horribleness and the grief and the dread of the nest storm, we must find the light in the idea that a new day is here, and it can be a very good one once the debris is cleared, and the grief managed.
And, Emily, my guess would be that God could be most upset right now about people contorting such rich religious teachings about how to treat the least among us into something so ugly and greedy and downright evil. Rev. Olivier talked about this in his sermon at Galloway Sunday (I watched on TV) and I got chills all up and down. His message: You can't just spout the name of Jesus; you must understand, and heed, the teachings about caring for the poor and justice. Breathtaking.
To twist a phrase from the Clinton campaign: It's about the poor, stupid.