I haven’t written an entry for a few days, and as I’ve been watching and reading all the footage about Katrina and its aftermath. I’ve tried to write about what I thought and felt, and honestly, nothing I put down seemed even close. Sadness, anger, disbelief, outrage… I couldn’t believe that this was my country… that we would allow this to happen. I couldn’t believe that our government could fail its own people so completely.
I was saving links to stories, as if somehow, I could make sense of this. I gave a significant amount of money to the Red Cross. I donated clothing to Salvation Army for designation to Katrina relief. I wanted to be able to somehow make some sense of this for myself. There was no sense to be made.
Then, tonight, I watched Rescue Me — the decent FDNY drama with Dennis Leary. Tonight, in the closing moments, a child dies, and we see the reaction of the parents. It really crushed me to see that. And, after spending twenty minutes watching Jakob sleep, I realized that what makes all of this harder to deal with than it used to be is that I look at the world now as the world Jakob will inherit. (And now, any time I see anything that suggests a parent losing a child, I’m a wreck.) The cruelty and injustice I see around me is even more painful because it isn’t the world I want Jakob to have to deal with.
I’ve tried to live my life with the belief that we try to leave the world a little better off for our presence. It’s been a core belief of mine for a long time… thanks to my father. Now, with my own son, that belief has become more powerful… and I realize that the sadness and injustice I see around me hits me just that much harder.
To the city of New Orleans, we failed you. It was a failure of compassion, a failure of political will, a failure to recognize our responsibility to the common man.