Wednesday, October 24, 2007

On Public Reactions

It's almost a cliche to say "people just want to blame somebody for their problems." And it's also a cliche to point out the way politicians use everything to their political advantage.

Natural disasters have a way of bringing the best (or worst) of both out. We saw it after Katrina, we're beginning to see it now in Southern California. "If only the government had done more." "How come firefighters were over there but not over here?" "We fled our homes and didn't see one firefighter for miles." The fires aren't even out, and already the blaming is spreading like the embers ahead of the firestorm.

Perhaps I can have some grace toward those who just lost everything - anger, outrage, blaming are natural responses. They need an outlet. But as I peruse national media, I read comments from people in the Bay Area and Ohio and Florida already blaming it on the Republicans, on the war in Iraq, on rich white suburbanites, on Hollywood moguls.

It seems we have lost the ability to mourn with those who mourn. It seems we'd rather put in our $.02 worth, sharing our "opinion," as if it really mattered.

What we need to realize is that WE CAN"T CONTROL NATURE! Many are expressing outrage and disbelief, as if somehow our 21st Century Technology had done away with natural disasters. Perhaps we've become so insulated inside our air conditioned homes and cars, so surrounded by a virtual electronic world, that we forget just how potent the real world can be. So much of our day is spent in such relative, artificial comfort, that when the real world barges in, we get offended. How dare nature do this to my comfortable life? I pay taxes! This isn't supposed to happen!

Perhaps it is time to stop blaming. Perhaps it is time to reach out a hand in love and support to those who have lost so much. Perhaps, in time, cities and counties need to rethink the wisdom of building homes in fire-prone canyons. . .but for now, it's better to not blame the Republicans, the rich, the fire crews, the developers. It's healthier to not blame anybody. The question ought not to be "who's fault is this," the better question is "how can we help those who are hurting?"

1 comment:

Kim said...

The question ought not to be "who's fault is this," the better question is "how can we help those who are hurting?"

Word!

Our youth pastor has friends there who have been and/or are being evacuated. My heart is just breaking for them.