Wednesday, June 18, 2008


I received the following letter today (via SusanUNPC at NoQuarter). With the author's permission, I am sharing it here. I am leaving it to Christopher, the author, to share my response to him (in the Comments section), should he so desire. But his letter is the point here, and I do not wish to diminish that in any way (it is reprinted as he wrote it with a few typo corrections, nothing that alters the substance of the letter, though):

Rev. Amy,

I write this letter through tears. Tears of empathy for those suffering in Iowa form the flooding. I am watching a report on the news of people in Iowa who have lost everything that are going back into their homes to find nothing worth saving.

I have seen this before. I was in the outer zone of impact from hurricane Katrina; Baton Rouge. I donated money and clothing, as did my family; poor as they are, they shared what they had.

During hurricane Rita, my spousal equivalent and I hosted four complete strangers, who were unrelated to each other, in our home for almost a week. My spouse's company sent out a memo, asking people in Baton Rouge to host employees from Houston who had nowhere to go. The employees could continue to work in the office in Baton Rouge, if they chose to do so, guaranteeing them a paycheck and a distraction.

The company was closed the day of the hurricane. We all huddled around the TV until we lost power. Then we listened to the radio by candle light. As Rita pounded Lake Charles and the state line between Texas and Louisiana , Baton Rougeans could only give thanks that we were not directly in the in the path of Rita's destruction and pray for those who were.

As our guests watched the houses around us lose half the shingles on their roofs and trees have their leaves blown off like one would blow to make a wish on a dandelion, we could see the palpable fear in their faces. Assurances that our house withstood Katrina's winds rang hollow. Several retreated to my two person prae dieu kneeler to pray, others sought privacy to cry themselves to sleep through the nightmare.

After the winds died down and the power was restored, everyone in the house breathed a collective sigh of relief. The reality of having to return to Houston through the destruction left by Rita sank in. The strangers, who were now inextricably joined together as a family, quietly packed their few belongings, gave us tearful goodbyes along with heartfelt words of appreciation, then headed out into the unknown.

Flash forward to today. The Midwest has been pounded by merciless tornadoes incessant flooding and an unfortunate loss of life. Not to mention those who have been displaced. Somehow the MSM and the politicians think it is business as usual, much like they did during Katrina and Rita. Where is the outrage, where is the empathy?

Has America become so desensitized to suffering that we just can't turn off our political minds for a few days to concentrate on our fellow (hu)man(s) and his or her needs right now? Is it because the victims are predominately white? CLARIFICATION HERE: What I was attempting to say in an inarticulate manner that really came off badly from my point of view, was: is Washington delaying their reaction so as to not offend the Katrina victims, in some sort of warped parity, they don’t want to be seen as rushing to the aid of whites? It will be the same amount of time that Bush visits Thursday as it was when he visited N.O. Am I just cynical and distrusting?

An example of this is the two emails I received from Al Gore and Howard Dean (Christopher had the two emails attached to his email - if anyone has NOT seent hem and wants to, let me know, and I'll post them in the Comments section). Why is the Global Warming Czar more concerned about Barack Obama's needs than those of America's heartland? Why is Howard Dean more concerned about sounding the alarm bells about the way John McCain raises campaign funds than sounding the alarm bells on human suffering?

I have yet to officially leave the Democratic Party but, I have, as you know, let them know where I stand and requested them to never contact me again.

My question to you is: what do I do? How do let them know that these actions are nauseating, not to mention morally reprehensible and indefensible? How do I send them a clear message?

Thank you for your time, and for your blog. I await your reply and humbly remain,

Sincerely yours,


I concur with Christopher that there has been BLESSED little said by either politicians or political parties on the devestating flooding moving from state to state to state, at this point. Updated: I think there is a temendous disconnect between the majority of politicians and the people in this country. The politicians, and political parties, seem so removed from people's DAILY lives that when something of this magnitude happens, they have a difficult time comprehending the magnitude of these natural occurrences for these people. (Along those lines, remember when Bush talked mostly about being able to return Senator Lott's repaired home while people were literally without food and water?? Uh, yeah. Just to prove my point...)

Thank you, Christopher, for writing, and for sharing your story with me (and now, us). I appreciate your expressions of empathy, compassion, sadness, and anger, about this very important issue.

1 comment:

Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Because this site REQUIRES a Google sign-in, Christopher was unable to post my response to him, and asked me to do it for him. So, here it is:

Dear Christopher -

I just returned home and read your moving, and empassioned email. I can only imagine how painful this is after your experiences with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. I have very close friends who live in Baton Rouge, and I know what a difficult time that was for everyone, both for the dispossessed, and for those trying to provide shelter from the very real storm...

To answer your question, I don't know why the floods in Iowa and Illinois are not being covered more. Personally, I rarely watch broadcast news anymore anyway because of the HORRIBLE way Clinton, well, I should say the Clintons, were treated, not to mention the gross amts of misinformation they were spewing so much of the time. So I honestly do not know how little or much boradcast news is covering this. But I DO know, like you, that Al Gore and Howard Dean are MUCH more concerned with filling the coffers of the DNC than they are abt the people in the Midwest. (I am VERY disappointed in Al Gore on oh-so-many-levels, but this kind of thing, these floods, are JUST the sort of thing abt which he was WARNING us! And REAL people's lives are at stake here! So at the VERY least, it seems that this would be JUST the sort of thing abt which he WOULD be speaking!) I think these politicians have proven beyond a SHADOW of a doubt that they really don't care at ALL for the majority of actual PEOPLE in this country, only those who can do something for them specifically. (Hillary Clinton, IMHO, was one of the few who really saw US. Maybe that was the biggest problem for the DNC - that the people chose HER, not the one whom they had chosen...)

In terms of the political aspect, though, all I can say is I do not know. I do not know when so many of our leaders lost their sense of compassion or empathy. I don't know when, or how (power corruption?) they lost their connection to humanity.

In any event, I am so sorry for the pain you are in, and want to tell you that your compassion and empathy is quite moving. The country definitely needs more people like YOU, Christopher. Your energy, your prayers, and your actions DO make a difference. What tangible things you can afford to do (physically, financially, emotionally) only you can know. But, continuing to make your feelings known to the party leaders matters, and I commend you for that.

And I would say, my understanding of the divine is that the divine is in each one of us, in all of creation. And we are all connected, each one of us, one to another. Everything is connected. What happens to one, or to many, affects us all. What happens to the planet affects us all. When we stop feeling or acknowledging that connection, we are denying not only ourselves, but the divine power in and around us. You have chosen to stay connected, Christopher, and your grief is real, and understandable, ESPECIALLY given your experiences. I would suggest you allow yourself to truly feel what you are feeling, and really mourn. When you are ready, you can move into action - writing the DNC and Dean, calling your local organizations to see what you can do to help, and to keep reaching out to others who care.

Thank you for reaching out to me. I hope I have helped, if even in some small way.

I would like your permission to share the letter you wrote on my blog, leaving out your name, of course (and making a few changes, like changing "man" to people, or something like that, if you agree to that). Would that be acceptable to you?

My heart goes out to you, Christopher, and you are in my thoughts -

Take care -