Thursday, September 01, 2005

The American Spirit

I found this on Lone Ranger’s site yesterday, who in turn, got it from Wonderwoman’s site, who got it from a National Post article:

LONDON - If British Prime Minister Tony Blair had not been vacationing in the Caribbean yesterday, it seems a safe bet he would have announced to the world that Britain feels deep sympathy for its freshly wounded ally, the United States.
He might have been wrong.

In fact, to judge by the reaction of some Londoners yesterday to Katrina's rising death toll, Britons seem to feel the United States is overdrawn on sympathy. In an online discussion group set up by The Guardian newspaper, for example, one man sneered that George W. Bush will "blame global warming, or 'ecological terrorism' for this extreme weather event." Another said the disaster will be all the worse because the National Guard, which so often helps in relief operations, "is in Iraq to provide for the comfort of U.S. occupation forces."

And there was much snickering over which wing nut televangelist will attribute the devastation of New Orleans to Genesis 6:13, in which God, about to flood the sinful Earth, tells Noah: "The end of all flesh is come before me ... behold, I will destroy them with the Earth."

The rest of the article describes the utter indifference that Brits exhibit towards America in the face of the monumental disaster in our gulf states.

One has to wonder if this is the same attitude the rest of the free world has toward the United States. I have yet to see anywhere in any newscast or website where we are being offered help by any of them.

Is this a surprise? No.

Is it troubling? Yes.

Here is the good news:
America doesn’t need their help, nor do we ask for it. One of the many things that make this country great is the willingness of it’s citizens to pull together in times of crisis and despair. Even as the Hurricane moved across the Gulf on it’s way to Louisiana, good people across this nation were preparing to offer their services through the generosity and goodness of their heart.

There are relief organizations, churches, individuals, companies, and government agencies all pulling together to help in the efforts to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. There is no Democrats or Republicans, no Conservatives or Liberals, only Americans. Athiests, Jews and Christians, white, black, and brown, all working together to get the job done. We are all Americans today.

Now I’m not saying that there isn’t any looting going on. Anytime there is a disaster, there will always be selfish, opportunistic, criminally oriented people there to take full advantage of the situation, and damned be anyone who gets hurt. But they are in the minority, no matter what the television newscasts say. The majority of the people are honest hard working people that have found themselves in a desperate situation. And they are the ones that need our help. Many of them would offer help to those less fortunate than themselves even in the situation they are in now.A couple donate money to the Red Cross

That is the American Spirit at it’s finest.

I am reminded of a song written by Phil Coulter called “The Town I Love so Well”. The last verse tells us:

Now the music's gone but they still carry on
For their spirit's been bruised, never broken
They will not forget but their hearts are set
on tomorrow and peace once again
For what's done is done and what's won is won
and what's lost is lost and gone forever
I can only pray for a bright, brand new day
in the town I loved so well.

We did not have to wait to be asked for help. We help because we are Americans. We help because we are civilized. We help because that is what Americans do.

All we ask is where and to whom do we send whatever aid we have to offer.

What will happen the next time a tsunami strikes or terrorists bomb a subway or an earthquake devastates a country? Will America respond the way the British and the others have to America’s need?

Not at all. Again, we will be the first to respond, the first to help, the first to support, the first to pray.

That is why we are the greatest nation on earth. If we ever turn our backs on the world, God help us.

For He is the only One that will.

Lie Of The Day (from Laura Ingraham's website)
Hosting C-Span's "Afterwords" program, in which she interviewed former UPenn President Sheldon Hackney, Janet Cohen (wife of former Clinton Sec-Def Bill Cohen), said, "I'm not accusing the south of being terrorists, although that culture has terrorized a race of people historically...." She continued by saying, "How do we reconcile the very enemy we're fighting whose traits are very similar to our own."

She said earlier in the interview, "I'm seeing parallels between what's going on now as we look at life and our world after 9/11. You talk about an overly religious group, you talk about people who resist modernity, and have a desire to oppress other people." Sounds like equating the South to terrorists to me.


tugboatcapn said...

I'm with you, Mark.
Americans will look after our own. We clean up our own messes, as well as messes around the world. We are basically the only country who does this.
My latest post was about the Baptist Men's Disaster Relief Project. These are the people who will relieve the misery that the people in New Orleans and the otheer hard-hit areas feel.
Not the British, not the French, Not the United Nations.
Americans. Christians.
Us. Not THEM.
As far as the rest of the world, who needs 'em.
I would rather freely choose to give my whole paycheck to help the victims of this disaster than to have them depend on contributions from the Governments of Socialist Countries in Europe.
I will probably go over to that area to work on a disaster relief team soon, if I can find one that will have me.
I will keep you posted.

MadMustard said...

Mark, the only nation that I am aware of that has offered assistance is Canada.

In a purely ‘snarky’ comment, I have heard that Mexico is prepared to send about 4 million of its citizens to the United States; although, I am not sure they will be of much help.

Lores Rizkalla said...

you're so right, mark.

it's a sad commentary on the rest of the world. but, it sure is a moment to be proud to be an American.

Liam said...

Blimey, one could be forgiven for thinking it was Brit-baiting day down there in Clear Spring! Well, let me give you some back.

In a bizarre way Mark, I fear your post is nicely balanced; the second half being a good demonstration of why the first half is probably true.

Let’s talk about aid. What would you like? America, like most ‘First World’ countries has organisations geared up to bring emergency aid to a disaster zone quickly. So what do we have in Europe that is vital to the relief effort that isn’t already in a warehouse somewhere within the continental USA, waiting to be deployed wherever it is needed? America is not a third-world country. You have the largest and richest economy on earth. $26 billion dollars to clear up after Katrina? You spend that every six months keeping troops in Iraq! It isn’t going to break the bank.

Also, perhaps it’s worth comparing the reaction times of the US government to the Indian Ocean Tsunami last December. Initially very low levels of aid were mentioned and President Bush carried on with his holiday. It was only three days after the event that he emerged and really started doing things. We’re on a similar time scale to that now and things are starting to happen.

Now, tugboatcapn says ‘Americans will look after our own.’ I’ve just been watching a news report where the correspondent was asked why so many people remained after the order to evacuate. The answer was; it was the poorest who remained; the people who didn’t have cars to drive out of the city. No transport was provided for them. And now people are firing on the rescuers and the rescue helicopters, so the paramedics have withdrawn from the Superdome evacuation! Is this how Americans look after each other? It’s not like no-one saw an event like this coming! Why wasn’t an evacuation planned to the nth degree? Why were so many people left behind in a mandatory evacuation?

So now let’s talk about the attitude of the rest of the world to America. The American Dream is based on individuals making good and reaching ‘the top’ through their own hard work which is great. The previous comments are very much in that vein; ‘We are the best, we’ll make it on our own, we don’t need anyone else.’ That’s a fine attitude on a personal level – it is what has made America great – but as a national attitude it’s a disaster; arrogance really pisses people off. The world is a tiny place these days – not even a global village anymore, more like a global apartment block with very thin walls! But most of the time America acts like it owns the entire block. Nope. We have to respect each other, accept our differences and work as a community, rather than treating others as less than us simply because they aren’t the same as us. All men are created equal, yes?

So you resent a lack of aid promises from the rest of the world when a city of half a million is evacuated and there are likely many hundreds dead, but how much aid did the USA offer when floods killed over 1000 people and displaced twenty million (yes, twenty million) people in India two weeks ago? Did the event even impinge on your news radar? Five-hundred dead and two million displaced in China in June? Why does New Orleans warrant the entire world stopping to lend a hand when India didn’t even make the headlines?

America has a lot of good things going for it and most of the Americans I have met have been perfectly lovely people, my partner is in fact American, but as a nation the USA has a big and longstanding attitude problem; that’s why you may find the sympathy from Europe not entirely wholehearted.

Finally, a few further words directed at tugboatcapn; “We clean up […] messes around the world. We are basically the only country who does this.” Well, since you clearly aren’t talking in humanitarian aid terms, what terms are you talking in? “Americans. Christians. Us. Not THEM.” Dividing the world into ‘us’ and ‘them’ is how tyranny starts; by dehumanising your opponent. It worked for the slave traders and it worked for the Nazis. Is that really how you see the world? What happened to Christ’s teachings about universal brotherhood?

rich bachelor said...

Man, I'm glad you're here, Liam.
On an entirely unrelated note, inappropriate though it may seem: Mark, you seem to have gotten rid of your spammers. How did you do it? I just got my first one, appended to my most recent post.

tugboatcapn said...

Liam, I was unaware that Britain and America were opponents...

And there's that "N" word again, being used against me by one of "THEM".

Explain to me again the part about dehumanizing your opponent?

Erudite Redneck said...


Mark said...

ER, Test?

Liam said...


I didn't think we were adversaries either but the tone of your comment, plus the fact that Europe (in fact the entire rest of the world!) was definitely on the opposite side of the line you drew between 'us' and 'them' made me wonder.

I wasn't calling you a Nazi any more than I was calling you a slave trader; those were the two most vivid examples of tyranny based on dehumanisation I could think of. I guess it would have been clearer though if I had followed that up with the phrase "Is that really how you see the world, as American Chirstians on one side and everyone else on the other?" rather than the shorter version I used. Sorry for any confusion/offense.

Mary said...

‘We are the best, we’ll make it on our own, we don’t need anyone else.’ That’s a fine attitude on a personal level – it is what has made America great – but as a national attitude it’s a disaster; arrogance really pisses people off. The world is a tiny place these days – not even a global village anymore, more like a global apartment block with very thin walls! But most of the time America acts like it owns the entire block.

You know what ticks me off?


The world always expects the U.S. to come to its rescue.

They say, "Help us." Of course, we do.

Is our assistance appreciated?

Probably, but it would be nice to hear "thank you" once in a while rather than "We hate you."

America is supposedly so hated by the world; yet we're the first that's looked to when help is needed.

I think America's competence is often mistaken for arrogance.

We don't own the block. Nonetheless, everyone on the block wants us to be responsible for its well-being.

Liam said...

Ingratitude? I’m sorry to be flippant here, but if I promise we’ll be serious ingrates for a long time to come, will you promise to take back McDonald’s and runaway litigation? The UK would definitely be a better place without them!

Seriously, though, from where I’m sitting it more often looks like it’s the US who expects the US to come to the world’s rescue. I haven’t had time to research properly tonight, but if you have examples of a country turning directly to the US and asking it for help, rather than turning to an international body like the UN, or even just putting out a general appeal, then I’d be happy to review them.

tugboatcapn said...

If you have a problem with McDonalds or runaway litigation, then don't eat there, or sue anybody.
Why do you blame other people for your problems?

Seriously, though, I have recently learned that Britain, France, Germany, Austria, Australia, Canada, and a host of other countries around the globe have pledged financial support for Americans victimized by Hurricane Katrina,
We are very grateful. Thanks to all of you.
I can lift very heavy things, and carry them for long distances right by myself, but it is easier with a little help.
We appreciate it.

Mark said...

2 points here: First, when I originally wrote this post, There had maybe been offers to help from other nations, but I had not seen them, so I didn't lie. there are countries offering their assistance, and some offering condolences. (Condolences are very tasty with BBQ sauce!)

Second, The U. S. doesn't wait for natuons to ask them for help, yet we are invariably the first nation to go help them.

Liam said...

Mark, that is kind of my point actually; The US doesn’t wait to be asked. I know it is done with the best of intentions; Americans are fantastic givers when something touches their hearts, but (as we’ve seen here over the last couple of days) National Pride can be a fierce thing, so perhaps it is better to offer the help and wait for it to be accepted than to swoop in, even with the best of intentions. (Who was it who said ‘the road to Hell is paved with good intentions’?)

Tugboatcapn, LOL! Fair point, although under English law never having sued someone doesn’t constitute a defence. :o)

Zefrog said...

Don't come and tell us that "the rest of the World" did not come and offer help to the US. They did (just after the Katrina) but the US REFUSED this help...

Help from Canada
Help from Jamaica
Help from Venezuela
Help from Cuba.

Since then more help has been offered by more countries (probably when they saw how badly the adminstration was doing) and the help has been accepted.

Zefrog said...

Oh, and that could be of interest to you too, guys:
Foreign aid donors still waiting for clearance