Hurricane John Rips Through Florida; McCain Catastrophe Seeks Funds

copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert

Presidential aspirant John McCain is in Florida this week.  Five days into the hurricane season that typically haunts this South Eastern State, Senator McCain, grapples with his own disaster.  The Arizona Senator, proud of his opposition to a proposed National Catastrophe Fund, needs dollars to restore order to his political house.  Hence, the Arizona Senator has come to the Sunshine State to catch some rays, or more accurately to raise the necessary green.  

The prominent prisoner of war, captive to a want for cash, seems oblivious to the correlation.  Senator McCain has struggled to garner the gelt he needs to run an effective Presidential  campaign.  He has not had the most passionate support from his Party.  Thus, he turns to constituents in Florida.  After all, it was in this State the Senator won a victory that changed the tide of his campaign.

John McCain does not seem to realize a subtle analogy.  Floridians sought relief from a nation that they are part of, and the people in this great country let them down.  The Arizona Senator was among the most ardent opponents to a subsidy that might have helped support Floridians at the time.  He continues to denounce the possibility that as a nation, we work as one; that is unless he is speaking of contributions for his cause.

Now, John McCain, a member of the Grand Old Party declares Republicans must come together.  However, he experiences the political stalwarts in his camp are not there for him as he hoped they would be.  Senator McCain may now feel the pain of abandonment Floridians find all too familiar.  

Just as John McCain said, to the people in a territory overwhelmed by the damage hurricanes caused, “No!  I will not deliver the dough,” his people now say, “No, I will not contribute the cash you require to rebuild.”

The Senator, desperate to survive and financially strapped seems oblivious to the similarity in this situation.  Floridians hearts ache.  Those in the Gulf State know to their core how it feels to be connected, and yet rejected.  Perchance, John’s spirit is so scarred from what feels as a slight, he can no longer see the irony that is evident to those in the Everglades.  

Denunciation is difficult.  Irony is intricate.

Citizens in the Sunshine State understand this.  They need only reflect on recent circumstances.  After being victim to two devastating hurricanes, Katrina and Wilma in 2005, they were forced to ask for favors.  The disdain expressed by those who live elsewhere was ample.  The idea of a national Catastrophe Fund was easily dismissed by the masses.  John McCain led the contemptuous cry.

People in the presumed “United” States, and John McCain, concluded that inhabitants of the Sunshine State took the burden of blight upon themselves.  The general public and Senator John McCain stated, when the individuals in Florida elected to live in the tropical “paradise” they knew the danger.  

Only three years ago, ‘constituents’ in cooler, calmer, less critical climates believed they were impervious to peril.  Times have changed.  In this year alone, millions throughout the country were struck by tornados, windstorms, and tempest of hail.  Rains ravage the hillsides.  Wild fires burn the forest.  Neighborhoods are scorched.  Droughts dry the land and leave many plants and people without water.  Perchance, even John McCain, Senator from this arid state has or will suffer great distress if weather conditions continue to devastate Americans.

Floridians empathize.  The people situated on a peninsula know how an environmental crisis can cause a financial calamity.  In the Everglade State, individuals and families have been crippled by natural disasters that they cannot control.  They felt the same fear John McCain now realizes.  When resources are few, there is not much a solitary individual (or State) can do.  

Residents in the Sunshine region have been in dire straits.  They recall how it felt when few were willing to donate to their cause.  Today, as Presidential candidate John McCain circulates through the Florida terrain, as he moves from sea to shore, people may inquire, will the Presidential aspirant consider what he did not less than thirty-six months ago.  When circumstances punish people, or a person, the untouched may be reluctant to offer aid.

Sunshine State Sources . . .

Destruction, Devastation, Debt, and Delivery ©

In this time of turmoil I am torn.  There is so much death, so much destruction, so much devastation; it is more than the human mind might imagine.  Yet, for me, the death and destruction that natural disasters cause is not nearly as confusing as that which humans inflict upon each other.  We humans inflict pain upon each other in many manners.  We impose pain that is physical and pain that is psychological.  We cause pain when we destroy, devastate, create debt, and do not deliver.

An aside: Sadly, it seems that we often believe that we give more then we do.  The contrast between what we believe we bestow upon others and what we do differs.  In recent days, there have been numerous discussions of this discrepancy.  Mostly, the focus is on charitable contributions.  In America, it seems that many think that their country is the most magnanimous.  Yet, while the intentions may be wonderful, the actions often do not reflect these.  Apparently, this can be a personal truth and one that is public policy.  America allocates less than one percent of its’ budget to Foreign Assistance.  The distribution of these funds is not as many of us might believe.  There is a stark contrast between those for diplomacy, those for defense, and those set aside for natural disasters.

Please read and reflect upon the Overview of United States Foreign Aid Budget.  Pages 19 and 22  may be of interest.

While natural disasters destroy, devastate, and bring about debt, they deliver.  They deliver life in a loving manner.  Natural disasters cause us to evaluate, to create, to build, and to do it all better than we had done before.  Natural disasters cause people to build physical bridges over land and sea; they also cause people to build bridges and bonds with each other.  People torn asunder long ago, and remaining so for decades, come together during natural disasters.  People living in abject poverty, and given little or no attention, little or no assistance during the “good” times, are helped during natural disasters.  People that prefer to ignore the poor, the needy, the deprived, and the destitute, view these same persons differently when they become survivors of a natural disaster.

Communities and countries extend financial assistance during natural disasters.  Even when the giving of the money causes the giver debt, people are willing and wanting to give; they are willing and wanting to spend time and money.  They want to extend themselves, to extend their hands and their hearts, and ultimately, they do.  While they may initially hesitate for any and many reasons, hearts, minds, and pocketbooks do open.  The money is well spent, well meant, and well worth the debt.  For what is created from this flow of cash comes back, and back, and back again.  This debt, serves, satisfies, and supplies such meaning.  This debt is not truly debt; it is true devotion.

Yet, for me, in this time of ample destruction, devastation, and debt, our devotion is in question.  Will we deliver?  Currently, there is death and destruction on many fronts, some imposed by man, some imposed by nature.  We have committed ourselves to contributing to each.  Yet, I wonder.  There are numerous reports that, in the past, money that was committed during a natural disaster did not come in full.  However, money that was and is committed for war flows freely.  This truth causes me turmoil!

We claim to be devoted to principles, purposes, to profundity, and or to the powers that be and yet, our actions, more accurately, our reactions demonstrate that we are not, at least not always.  We claim our devotion to good, to love, to peace, to sharing prosperity equally; we claim to be devoted to our ideas or to the ideal.  Some claim a devotion to God, to Allah, to the Almighty, to Mohammed, to the Lord Jesus, to Hashem, or to Buddha.  Each of these espouses equity, empathy, honor, and harmony and yet, though we often say that we believe in these, we do not always act as though we do.

In times of natural disaster, we state our care and our concern.  We commit ourselves; we declare that we will contribute.  We promise to provide cash.  We volunteer to send medicine to cure the ills that occur under circumstances such as these.  We commit to reconstruction; we realize the need for homes, hospitals, and schools.  Yet, while we often begin these projects and intend to extend, as time goes on, as the extent of destruction and the devastation from a natural disaster fades from the minds of those far away, those at a [physical or emotional] distance, they/we no longer choose to deliver.

We focus on what we prefer, what we incite, what we instigate, and what we are intent upon.  Often these are our wars.  When we opt to war, we freely offer funding.  The destruction and devastation of war causes great debt, yet this debt does not flow back in the form of human kindness and growth.  Yet, when we war, we deliver.  Funds sent to a war effort are more stable then those sent to assist after a natural disaster.  We are willing and do invest funds more freely when the intent is destruction.  Funds intended for construction do not flourish.

It is for this reason that I ask; how can we say that we will support the survivors of earthquakes, volcanoes, or tsunamis, and when often, we do not fulfill our commitments, fully?  Possibly this time will be different, however history often repeats itself.  We may wish to believe that we learn from the past, yet, there are centuries of evidence to support that often we do not.

We fought the war to end all wars, twice, and we all know that we may live to fight it again.  History repeats.  We commit to the principles of love and devotion, over, and over, and over again.  Then we war, we wound, and we wield weapons, vowing never to do this again.  History repeats.  We actively work for peace then continually cause conflict.  We do this repeatedly in our personal, professional, and political lives.  History repeats.  Therefore, I ask, this time, may we learn from our past?  May we do as pledged and as we promised?  May we lessen the turmoil that tragedy can bring and begin to build in ways that we never have?  May we not repeat history, at least this time?  May we experience destruction, devastation, and debt, during a natural disaster and still choose to deliver?

Please consider other sources, among these  . . . ‘The Aid Charade,’ By Jody K. Biehl.”