Woefully Wet Parade: The Hand of Man

Rain has fallen on the parade of many in cataclysmic proportions. The direst display is of course across our sodden gulf states. Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana are suffering as none have seen before. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina thousands may lay dead, tens of thousands hurt and millions are wet yet thirsty, alternately sweltering and shivering, sadly facing unfaceable loss.

In the midst of the surreal flood of coverage we are caught up in, the plight of New Orleans looms the largest in the Medias’ wide unblinking bewildered eye. Looters are else where but the Big Easy has spawned and drawn the lion’s share of lawlessness. Now some are bound to allude to divine punishment here. I for one being a Christian, a Conservative and a Republican in that order, see this much more in terms of human manufacture than righteous retaliation.

Myriads of people over many years missed multiple chances to do more to avoid this level of suffering. From the delta floods of 1927 to the disastrous dike collapses in Holland of 1957 to the un-funded existing blueprints to bring “The Bowls” levees up from category three to category five hurricane protections to the hundreds of school busses never used to pick up the neediest. All these testify to the hand of man behind much of the impact of the storm we had to know would come.

Some seek to use the broken bricks of this disaster to bash more Bush more often. Others project a pall of twisted social justice delayed upon the parasitic mobs of looters. Crass politics from the left must be expected. Cindy Sheehan and the bought and paid for catered counter culture caravan are on the road and out of the headlines. One can also hear the widening ear of mainline media straining for the slightest refrain of Right-wing Religious allusions to the “Judgment of God”. Sadly they will come echoing from some Graceless corner of Christendom as surely as water flows through broken levees. In this we all dodge the bullets of responsibility and delay the purpose and unity needed to restore our country and countrymen.

As good people groan and swoon under the burden of devastation and depravation every politician in that area that didn’t push to protect their parishes, cities and states has culpability and much to explain. As gas prices soar and consumers scream and suffer every lobbyist that has fought off shore drilling, building new refineries, new nuclear plants and alternative fuels deserves a boot in the butt and restriction to seat less bicycle transportation for a decade.

Now having turned my medium caliber vocabulary lose on the easy targets let me take a longer more lofty aim at the reason for high level chaos in and around New Orleans. Let us first dispense with those who are seeking food, water and other needs. This has been well covered, debated and has no traction in excusing armed theft and thuggery. What we are seeing in place there now has been sown and cultivated for sometime in the Big Easy.

Set aside moral absolutes which many deny the existence of. Lay down sanctimony over there being a noble savage in human nature and let us just consider the base drives of the “Human Animal”. If an individual, a family, neighborhood, city, state or culture prioritizes self indulgence, self-fulfillment and immoderation as the means of living, these entities do not just create some epicurean cultural refinement. They create self-centered, self absorbed, self-deluded individuals that will trend all the way to the sociopath. In New Orleans an industry was formed around such self-indulgence. Add a disaster, remove normal restraints mix thoroughly with brine, sewage and desperation and you have theft, murder and rape. Survival of the fittest at it’s best.

I hope you notice that I have kept God, Christ and the Ten Commandments all out of this mix. As I have said the Hand of Man is on most of this mess. People are free moral agents. We choose and plant things. We equivocate, excuse and justify the tainted bitter roots we harvest. As we come together and seek to rebuild and restore all that has been lost. We should do more than consider the mistakes and poor choices that have lead up to this horrible loss.

Maybe as mountains of money pour forth to move the process along we might stop to consider what oddly still appears on our minted notes and coins. Not the ‘Full faith and credit” part but the “in God we trust” part. He has not let us down. We did that ourselves. He has not left or forsaken us. We have left and forsaken Him. Perhaps if we will employ all of our human wisdom, technology and effort yet be humble enough to place Him back in the mix as individuals, families, neighborhoods, cities, and states and so on. We will find the task easier, the hopes greater and the outcomes better than if we continue to leave Him out. After all we have tried it without Him and we have sadly failed.

He makes the rain to fall on us all and a crop will come from our choice of seed, fertilizer and irrigation. As we parade past the pointing fingers to rebuild the now silent city and sullen aching coast. We must not pin the death, rot and destruction on nature, fate or on God. We must pin the blame on plain human frailty and pride. Maybe then we will have the humility to build on the firm foundations of Love and Forgiveness that nature knows not of and God has bled deeply Himself to cover and shelter our parades.

By Mike Poff


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