Like most people in the area right now, my attention has been focused on the oil that is leaking in the Gulf of Mexico, traveling towards Louisiana and dirtying up the Louisiana shoreline with its seductive corruption. My concern is not only for those directly impacted by the oil contaminating the seafood and taking away from them the way they make a living, but my concern falls for the wetlands that act as a protective barrier for Louisiana and the impact this is going to have on an already fragile eco-system. My concern also comes from the federal governments promises of being pro-active, working on behalf of the many, many individuals that will be impacted by this horrible man-made disaster when we all know how helpful the federal government was during the last man-made disaster this area survived five years ago.
My feelings on what is happening are far and wide. I feel empathy for all of the people who live in the area most directly affected by this – those that work in horrible conditions and brave the dangerously seductive waters to pay their bills, support their families and live because this is what they and their people have been doing for many, many years. I feel sadness for people who are just settling back into life in these areas, now having their lives uprooted once more. I feel betrayal that although we in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida are expected to accept the environmental risks of off-shore drilling while the federal government enacted rules that keeps our states, some of the poorest in the US, from profiting from the oil they take from us.
Above all, though, I feel anger.
President Obama, who recently signed an off-shore drilling bill that expands where the drill can take place, can’t be bothered to come down here now when we need him to see for himself the impact this is having on people, communities and eco-systems. For me, sending his people to see the damage first hand isn’t enough for me. I want to see him here. This is already being dubbed the worst oil spill of this kind by talking heads like CNN, Fox News and the like – to me, that is worthy of a Presidential visit. Not doing so only reinforces bad experiences people had during Katrina with the lack of attention not only not given by the federal government iself, but by the head cheesd of the federal government. Distaste still exists in the mouths of many on the lack of action, compassion and visibility of George W Bush during Hurricane Katrina, and I am starting to develop a distaste of my own in my mouth now.
I am angry that we, in Louisiana, are expected to just take man-made disasters like this with a forced smile on our face while carrying a hurricane in our hand and screaming “Let the Good Times Roll” as we party on, despite the devastation we are feeling. I love that New Orleans is looked upon as a place to go, to have fun, to lose yourself and we have some of the best people in the world here – we really do. I am sick of this area being treated like a cartoon character, without any consideration given that we are real people, with real families that will be facing real economic hardship due to an oil company’s greed and negligence. (Those not from here, despite many beleifs that the city flooded because of Hurricane Katrina, the city flooded because of the levees made and taken care of by the Army Corp of Engineers and the failure of those levees, which is why while you think we are selfish and lazy for demanding the federal government to take responsibility for what happened with Hurricane Katrina, it IS their duty to take responsibility for what happened)
I am angry that in a day or two, no one will care what is happening here unless their gas prices go up. At the point, in some way, this will become our fault instead of the fault of greedy oil companies, negligent government regulations and people who profit off of our suffering.