Today is the day that I am supposed to announce the winner of the latest Monthly Wine Writing Challenge, but I honestly don’t feel like celebrating much. I spent most of the evening trying to get information about the devastating fires in California.
While this morning there has been more coverage on T.V., last night it was difficult to get much information at all—it seems discussing who attended a football game and why was much more relevant to the national psyche than tens of thousands of people being evacuated. Far too many of those people, some of whom I likely know, will eventually return to the address on their driver’s license, wondering if everything they owned has been reduced to embers and ash.
Instead, the discussion is about kneeling during the National Anthem.
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the situation is the thoughts that race through my head. I am worried that Californians affected by the fires might not receive the attention and support of the federal government because they happen to live in a state that went for the political rival of the current president.
I feel terrible that the thought even entered my mind for ever since I was a kid, I was instilled with the notion that Americans take care of Americans. Looking at the evidence, however, as limited as it is, paints a disturbing trend. By most accounts, the federal government has received praise for the way it responded to the hurricanes that hit both Texas and Florida over the last couple of months.
Both states voted for the current president.
Also by most accounts, the response to the disaster in Puerto Rico have been “disappointing” to say the least. Now, Puerto Ricans can not vote in presidential elections (a fact that I consider mind-boggling), but I think it is safe to say that if they could, the current president would not have been their choice. (The single fact that they have little to no say in national elections might actually have been more of the driving force behind the “response” but we will likely never know.)
So what is going to happen in California, a state that voted overwhelmingly against the president? I have no idea, but I do know that thousands of homes have been destroyed and many more lives have been changed forever. Many people whom I know have been affected, but getting details about their well-being has become almost impossible as cellular service in the ravaged regions is spotty at best.
For nearly six years I have tried to keep this blog a “politics-free” zone, and in no way am I changing that now. But. The current environment of turning people against one another based on their political or world view has become unbearable. I grew up in a country that, for the most part, embraced one another based on a common set of values—values that still exist (I hope), but are becoming increasingly obscured by invented controversies and political partisanship.
From both sides.
I am not one that lends himself to prayer in such situations, but my thoughts are definitely with an area that I once called home and which I visit often. I hope they get the support and assistance they need.