Monday, September 1, 2008

Gustav

I recall one of those right-wing reverends, in the days after Katrina, attributing the catastrophic effects of storm to the expression of his God's wrath about gays and permissive sexuality. Tempting though it might be, I'll refrain from returning the favor by belaboring the effects of Gustav on the Republican convention. I'm just grateful that, for the time being at least, the evacuation orders appear to have minimized the storm's potential to cause human pain and suffering--though the mere fact of having to leave one's home and join the grid-locked procession out of the storm's path must have been disruptive enough in itself.

I can't help but notice, however, that Gustav has given the Republicans the best excuse in the world to spare themselves the otherwise obligatory appearance of Bush and Cheney at their event; and has offered those dignitaries the opportunity to redeem a small measure of their inexcusable negligence on the occasion of the earlier event. They can now look busy and concerned before the media's camera; they can mouth the words of compassion that were distressingly absent before; they can go through the motions of being in charge. Would that it had been so when Katrina hit. Would that New Orleans and its environs had received the federal aid they needed to recover from the damage they received three years ago. Would that the Bush administration's promises had been kept. From everything I hear, it is not so. The one inarguable lesson is that government is not always the problem, as ideological Republican leaders have so earnestly preached over the past three decades; and that the damage done to government by their efforts must now, like those levees, be repaired.

After last week's spectacular success for the Democrats at the convention, their opponents are now going to have to settle for at least the first couple of days of their convention with the media's attention focused steadfastly elsewhere. My part-Buddhist self tells me to take a breath and send thoughts of compassionate goodwill in their direction, while my political self wrestles with a reprehensible sense of Schadenfreude. Inevitably, on both sides, political calculation will have a significant role in how this story plays out over the next few days and as of this morning, the storm's damage is considerably less than the expectations hyped by the media.

I have been sitting on some ideas about Obama and what I judge to be the double standard of the media in covering his campaign; and about McCain and his vice-presidential choice. Once in a while I get a moment of clarity, but I have to say that the distractions of the moment--from Ellie's continuing battle with her rib pain to the chaos that surrounds us in our Laguna Beach cottage--have made it difficult to put together any coherent lines of thought. Today, we return to the relative tranquility of our Los Angeles home. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to get my head together.

6 comments:

thailandchani said...

I agree with you on nearly all your points. The RNC couldn't have done anything but cancel their plans or they would have looked really, really bad!

I'd like to think that many of them did learn from the Katrina experience and they do have more compassion. The thing is that it would take a longer period of time and more experience for me to actually believe it.

As long as you are willing to write political stuff, I'd like to hear your views about Sarah Palin.

:)

~*

Carly said...

re: "Bark If You See Mary".
http://www.coasttocoastam.com/gen/page1.html

The image in question, healling powers of a shape in a tree, strongly resembling the Virgin Mary.

re: "It's better to keep an open mind about such things, MacCarthy said."

THEIR MINDS ARE SO OPEN, THE WIND IS HOWLING THROUGH THEM.
BUT, HERE AGAIN, NATURE TRUMPS THE CHRISTIAN'S, AND SOME OTHER IDEAS OF GOD.

CONSIDER THIS: SINCE ORDER IS IMPLICIT IN NATURE, i.e., NATURE REPEATS IT'S DESIGNS WHEREVER AND WHENEVER. CLOUDS LOOK LIKE FACES, TREES LOOK IIKE FIGURES, ROCKS LOOK LIKE SLEEPING GIANTS. EVEN ANIMALS MISTAKE FORMS AND SHADOWS IN NATURE FOR PREY. BUT THEY QUICKLY USE THEIR OTHER SENSES TO VERIFY THE FALSE ALARM. HOWEVER, EGOISTICAL MAN OVERRIDES HIS OTHER SENSES. WHY? THEY WANT TO BELIEVE YOU SAY. BUT, PERHAPS IT HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH BEING AT ONE WITH NATURE.

EVEN A CLOTHED FIGURE IS REPEATABLE IN NATURE'S MATERIALS. THAT'S THE WHOLE IDEA BEHIND ART, MIMESIS, REPLICATE UNIVERSAL DESIGNS IN ORDER TO GIVE REVERENCE TO THEM. WHEN ARTISTS MAKE ART, THEY ARE DOING WHAT NATURE, WHICH ITERATES ITSELF ENDLESSLY, DOES ALL THE TIME, FORMING SIMILES IN MATERIALS AS WELL AS EVENTS.

THE SAD PART IS, PEOPLE IN THEIR SELF-CENTERED VIEW OF THE UNIVERSE, CANNOT ACCEPT THESE MATERIALIZATIONS AS AN UNDERSTANDABLE BEAUTY OF NATURE. THAT WOULD BE TOO REASONABLE. NO, THEY MUST FABRICATE A STORY, A MYTH OF THE PERCEIVABLE WORLD, DUE TO THEIR NAIVETÉ' OF UNDERSTANDING THE WONDERS OF NATURE'S ORDERLY CONSTRUCTION. AS IF, WHAT IS TRULY UNKNOWABLE IS NOT ENOUGH. WHAT IS TRULY UNKNOWABLE FRIGHTENS THEM, BECAUSE IT'S WRAPPED UP WITH DEATH. SO THAT EVERY SIMILE OF NATURE IS A 'SIGN', GIVING THEM UNJUSTIFIABLE RELIEF AND BELIEF THAT THE UNKNOWABLE IS WITHIN THEIR GRASP. THIS IS BECAUSE, THEY MUST GRASP EVERYTHING, INSTEAD OF LETTING GO. IT IS BECAUSE THEY ARE TRULY UNABLE TO BELIEVE THAT THE UNKNOWABLE IS BENEFICENT, THAT MAKES THEM BELIEVE A SIMPLE SIMILE OF NATURE IS PROOF THAT IT IS. THAT THEY MUST HAVE PROOF TO BELIEVE MEANS THEY ARE OUT OF TOUCH WITH THEIR ACTUAL EXISTENCE IN THE NATURAL UNIVERSE. **

"KEEPING AN OPEN MIND" IS NOT SO IMPORTANT TO THOSE WHO FEEL AND UNDERSTAND AND ACCEPT THEIR CONNECTION TO EVERYTHING ELSE. ***

WHAT'S MORE, AS SUCH, THEY LEND THEMSELVES TO BUFFOONERY AND EXPLOITATION, WHICH COMPLETES THE VICIOUS CYCLE OF THEIR SUFFERING AND IRONICALLY THRUSTS THEM INTO GREATER NEED TO EXPLAIN THEIR EXISTENCE.

**A religion has been made out of the inverse of this idea, i.e., because they must have proof to believe, the fabricated story is - one cannot truly be in touch with the natural universe, and can escape suffering by concentrating their will on their detachment from it.

*** Forcing an open mind is even less important.

They call him James Ure said...

Yeah my father-in-law is down right where Gustav hit, in Houma, LA. We are worried about him and hope for the best. :/

robin andrea said...

I would like to think that the political apparatus in our country could figure out how to deal with a hurricane AND hold a convention. Even the Democrats held a convention in 1944 while we were fighting WW2. There are ways to do both-- and be proactive, reflective, and supportive. The machinery behind the decisions to go light on Monday has more to do with hiding the President than providing solidarity with the people of the gulf coast.

I keep thinking that Sarah Palin will be this ticket's Eagleton. There seems to be a relentless unraveling.

PeterAtLarge said...

Chani, yes, I've been thinking about Sarah Palin, and plan to come up with some thoughts as soon as I can sit still for more than five minutes on end...

Carly, great to hear from you. I'm having difficulty finding the connection between the link you give and what I was writing about. Am I being obtuse?

James, here's sending meta to your father-in-law and family down there. From what I heard, briefly, on the news this morning, Houma was very much at the center of things...

PeterAtLarge said...

Robin, the news about Sarah Palin is really unsettling. A rash choice, as I see it. And yes, what a wonderful excuse to ensure the disappearance of Bush from the convention schedule!