Out of Touch

Moving across the country and starting a new job is one of those life events that makes one self-absorbed and out of touch. For a good two to three weeks I haven’t really paid attention to the news. I have occasionally turned on the radio, the TV, downloaded podcasts, and read news headlines on the Internet. Emails from my family updated me on the fires in Southern California so I know that my cousin was evacuated and is okay (we don’t know about her home yet, though). I was a little embarrassed that I found out about the Red Sox winning the World Series a couple of days after the fact. I learned from Peter Sagal on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me that Barak Obama and Dick Cheney are distant relatives.

When I watching the Daily Show the other night, Jon Stewart covered the media coverage of Gov. Shwarzenegger’s praise for the emergency response to the fires, I got really mad.

I am saddened by the news of the fires, and my heart goes out to those who are now left homeless.

But I am also sickened by the backslapping politicians congratulating each other on the gourmet salads, yoga classes, and massage that are being offered to firestorm victims. I mean, sure, yah, it’s great and all, and if I were a victim of one of those fires I would want a massage, too.

But I can’t help but think of the victims of Hurricane Katrina who after two years, as the Southern California fires burn, are barely surviving in FEMA trailers, who were not treated to fresh water just after the disaster, much less to a yoga class or a massage.

Jon Stewart’s comment to the over-abundance of food donations for the fire victims as compared to the provisions for Katrina victims was something like “The lesson here is don’t go through a natural disaster if you’re poor.”

The hypocrisy is infuriating and depressing.

I think I prefer to go back to unpacking and preparing to start my new job tomorrow.

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