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THINKING ALLOWED


Essays on Issues, Ideas and Reflections on the Times. Published now and
then. Opinions pro or con are welcome.

It's Not So Bad

North Miami Beach, FL 09-12-2005
A.H. Schectman

It is the old story of the nut who goes around yelling that the sky is falling or those who think the glass is half full while others see it as half empty.  There are always at least two sides of any story.  It gets more complicated when there are more than two versions or voices competing for getting the “scoop” on all the others who want their fifteen minutes of fame or attention. Our crop of pundits add to the din.

Right now our nation is reeling from the knowledge that it elected a dud as President.  He was pretty good in the days following his “deer caught in the headlights” immobility when the news was broken to him that the New York Trade Towers were destroyed.  He showed some leadership because there were some leaders who showed him the way.  One of the ways was to immediately call for war on the folks who did this and instead of going to war against the terrorists we suspected were conscripted and trained by Osama bin Laden, we made war on Afghanistan and Iraq.  The folks who are telling us this is not so bad are at work.

Closer to home are, of course, the tsunamis of Southeast Asia that appear here in the United States with implacable regularity, as hurricanes named alternately with male and female monikers. Well, think of all the ones that terrorized America, up along the eastern coast, in the past.  Now think of the most recent one, Katrina which brushed Florida and destroyed the Gulf Coast.  There are those who maximize the damage done - I don’t think they have gone far enough because we don’t yet know enough.  The tendency to minimize what damage was done caused those responsible to keep us from seeing daily new pictures of wide spread disaster and repressed the reportage to only pick out vignettes that showed homely shots of people helping people and less and less of the degradation and, of course, the body count.

Back in World War I there was a famous cartoon of a couple of British soldiers lying half in water in a bomb crater.  The message from Colonel Blimp was: “This ain’t so bad”, suggesting that there were worse places to be.  But the words carried a lot more meaning in the sense that “If you can find a better hole, go to it”.  In World War II, Bill Mauldin’s cartoons caught some of the lighter side of the worst of that time.  He drew a picture of a G.I. Joe carrying an officer on his back.  The officer was wounded in the leg which had a huge bandage on it.  The soldier was saying: “That’s o.k. Lieutenant; they might have replaced you with a saluting demon.” Whether at war or in natural disaster we try to keep our spirits up.

Things are relative and so are the views of this natural disaster.  To some it is not so bad while others are making a very big thing about it.  One guessing game is, whose heads are going to roll? Mistakes were made and someone has to be the goat.

 


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