Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life: Proud to be a Houstonian .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sharpening our wits on the grindstone of Life

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Proud to be a Houstonian

I've been reading today how Houston stands to benefit from Katrina's aftermath, and about the resultant disdain being heaped on us by certain other cities who wish they could reap such benefits. But let's face it folks, we didn't ask to be the nearest major city to a disaster stricken area. Most of the people with money to spend who arrived in Houston from Louisiana got here before we offered to take in the hungry, weary and poor. When Mayor White offered to house, feed and minister to those who most suffered from this catastrophe, there was not much more economic benefit to achieve.

The inference is that there were back room meetings that decided "hey, this could buy us some great PR. We can get the Sugar Bowl, and maybe even the 2011 Super Bowl!". I kinda doubt this happened. There wasn't time, given the bureaucratic process that usually accompanies these discussions. Instead, it was more like an immediate response, as evidenced by the Mayor's comments when the 'dome complex was overfull and he said (referering to the George R. Brown Convention Center) "I want these exhibit halls open. Let them sue us, and explain their lawsuit to the American people".

As one who has experienced this exodus firsthand, first let me respond to those far away that don't seem to grasp the concept. We have thousands of new vehicles on our freeway, all sporting Louisiana plates, all adding to our traffic woes. Granted, they don't necessarily know how to drive on Houston freeways, but we give them leeway. They also compete with us for available gas, but we don't mind.

Second, we see them at grocery stores, deciding how best to divide up 16 packs of popsicles among a dozen children living in their homes, and we usually offer to buy them extra boxes to make the math easier.

We show up at the Astrodome and food banks hoping to help, only to be turned away because they already have too many volunteers.

My son called me from a grocery store yesterday, saying he went to volunteer but was turned away, and wanted to know what they needed most, so that he could buy and donate it.

Sure, we may get the Sugar Bowl, but we probably would have gotten it anyway, since the Superdome would most likely be unavailable. And whether we get the Super Bowl in 2011 - well, that just doesn't matter right now. What matters is that these people - human beings - who deserve our help and respect, get back on their feet and on with their lives, regardless of their economic standing before this disaster happened.

They were happy before this catastrophe. Even though they lost everything, they deserve to be happy again.

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