Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or have been totally out of touch with the news cycle, pretty much everyone in the world knows that Joplin, Missouri, was hit—hard—by a tornado on May 22. One of the worst things this tornado did was hang out for nearly a minute right in front of one of our two spectacular hospitals, then plow in a straight line from that hospital to our Home Depot. Six miles of not jumping, of having other little tornadoes spinning within it, of winds in excess of 200 mph, of moving at half the speed a storm of its size normally travels. It left a swath of destruction six miles long by three quarters of a mile wide.
One manager of a local Pizza Hut gave his life to save as many of his workers and customers as he could, putting his own body on the line to hold the doors of a walk-in freezer closed with a bungee cord.
Before the storm had even settled, people were showing up at the hospital with pickups, hoping to help save lives by moving victims from a place where, not only was the building's structure horribly compromised, but leaking natural gas.
For the past week and a half, Joplin has been inundated by volunteers, well-wishers, and donations of goods and money. Joplin has symbolized the generosity of a nation.
I have been humbled by the generosity and love offered by our fellow citizens.
I have also been outright disgusted and revolted by the selfishness and pettiness of some individuals, and classes of people.
For instance, a local privately owned group of radio stations has been doing 24/7 storm coverage, from 4:00 p.m. on May 22 until yesterday, when they started to transition back to normal programming. Some of the DJs have lost their homes, all their possessions (but thankfully not their families), almost everything--to the point that a listener showing up with a fresh package of socks nearly brought one to tears. They've provided a vital service: putting people on live that wanted to know that their loved ones had survived, airing announcements made by emergency workers, charitable organizations, and politicians alike, announcing where to find this or that service or organization, or where to find shelter or supplies. Sometimes, they'd get someone call in, to announce that they'd found a pet wandering near where a house had been destroyed, and giving out their phone number to reunite the pet with the owner.
Yet last week--last Wednesday--someone called in complaining that there wasn't any music on the music stations.
Obama's visit demonstrated a tone-deaf arrogance I've never personally seen so blatantly displayed in my life. While it crystallized some realizations about the nature of pride in oneself and government assistance for Odysseus (which I've understood most of my life, and danced around here, here, here, here, and here--his comment over at Tam's blog at 12:46 a.m. sums it up nicely), it clarified for me exactly how our elected officials see us: as subjects who are expected to cater to their convenience.
BHO was in Ireland when the storm hit. Bill Clinton would have cut the trip really short, and been back the next day to be visible in feeling our pain (and our boobies, if he could get away with it). Obama didn't. He didn't come on Tuesday. Nor on Wednesday, or Thursday.
No, he chose to come on Sunday. He decided to time his arrival and travel to either campus or to the zone of destruction to coincide with church letting out.
The media tried to spin it as Obama stepping into the role of "the nation's pastor" in "deeply religious" Joplin--but his behavior kind of demonstrated otherwise (watch from about :36 on very closely--thanks for pointing that video out, Vilmar.).
A leader that understood he was but first among equals--only in charge because somebody has to be, and we all agreed that that somebody would be him--would have timed that differently. He would have come a bit more quietly, a bit more quickly, and been a bit more considerate about blocking every major intersection in a city that's already taken a blow to the heart.
Obama did the opposite.
I'd be willing to bet the asshole in chief likely visited residential districts that were destroyed--and blocked people from salvaging what they could from their destroyed homes in so doing.
That demonstrated a way of thinking that only works if you start with the assumption that he sees himself as the first emperor of the nation, and that we are his subjects--nothing more than cardboard cutouts placed to give him something to rule, something to make him look good.
And then, this legend in his own mind swore to finish the work the tornado started, by funneling aid into Joplin, whether we want/need federal aid, or not.
I am not a subject. I will not bow my head to any save my Creator. I will not wait at any intersection behind a police barricade on my way home from church like a good little peon.
I will vote this son of a bitch out of office in November, 2012. I will beg the nation to do the same.
We cannot afford to lose our self-respect. That's how citizens become subjects become slaves.