The other day I received an obnoxious email. It was designed to drive us apart. It worked hard at it. I wanted to grab the person who started it and shake him or her. Hard. I had to content myself with deleting it and denying its generator at least the satisfaction of the email she or he sent out sowing dissension, disdain and hate any further downstream.
Here’s what it did:
It painted the people of New Orleans as whiners and complainers while portraying the people of Colorado as true-blue, patriot, pull-themselves- up-by-their-bootstraps people who would never ask their government for anything.
It compared Katrina and the snow storm that hit Colorado last week.
It said the people in Colorado helped each other shovel their cars out of snow drifts. It said they pulled people who were stranded in their cars out of those cars and brought them to safety.
It said the people in Colorado would never get on national TV and swear at the government. It said they would never ask the government for help in the form of money or trailers or anything else.
It said they shared their dry socks with their neighbors when they came in after a tough day of shoveling.
And I say, ‘Good for them!’
I’m happy they had homes to come back to so they could get warm and put on those dry socks.
I’m glad one thousand three hundred people didn’t die in Colorado.
Here’s a reality check:
In New Orleans, before the storm hit, the poverty level was more than twice the national average.
There was a mandatory evacuation order—but most of the people who didn’t leave didn’t have cars or any other means of getting out of the city.
After the storm more than 50,000 homes were gone.
After the storm more than 300,000 people had no homes to return to.
If they had cars before Katrina struck, they didn’t after it left.
If they had jobs before the storm, they had no jobs to return to.
In fact, they had no city.
Can the people in Colorado say the same?
I’m not denigrating what happened in Colorado. It must have been horrific. The tail-end of that storm just hit Kansas City. We received several inches of ice and the city shut down.
But, just as I cannot compare what happened in Kansas City with what happened in Colorado, neither can the person who generated that hateful email compare what happened in Colorado with what happened in New Orleans.
I sincerely hope the smug person who compared the two never has to go through what the people in New Orleans suffered through.
I hope he or she never loses his or her home.
I hope he or she is never cast adrift—not knowing if he or she will ever get to go home and rebuild.
And, I hope he or she stops, before sending out an email like that again, and thinks: ‘There, but for the grace of God, go I.’