Shove It Away

I readthis story and then went looking for the comments, knowing they’d be there:

You fools are costing us a buch of our tax money living on a glorified sand bar.”


Galveston is and always will be a dump. IKE just flushed the toilet, that is Galveston.


Anyway anybody that stayed on that island after being told to leave is BOI (born obstinate and ignorant). Hopefully when the island is rebuilt someone will bring in the 21st century with them.


Residential coastline development for those that need subsidized flood insurance should be banned. It is too costly to the tax payer and also for emergency services that are needed when storms his these coastal communities.


times change, get used to it! if you wanna live there, fine. just don’t use our tax money to subsidize your folly!

It is a measure of how fucked up the last eight years have been that I read the above and thought, well, not particularly egregious. Jesus Marie. For the past eight years we’ve devalued government and denigrated work and told anybody who had anything bad happen to him that he can basically go fuck himself, we’re not responsible, so honestly, the usual victim-blaming going on here isn’t that remarkable.

It is, though, symptomatic of the one thing that has to change before anything else in this country can, and that’s the idea that we’re not one country, that we’re just a bunch of little NOLAs and Galvestons and we can let ourselves be wiped out like this, in pieces, without feeling anything other than “Hey, man, fuck you.” That America can live without Americans, that we can go around lopping off limbs one by one until we can’t move anymore, that piece by piece we can let ourselves be taken apart. I’m not talking about how we rebuild, about strategic decisions (though, if only,) I’m talking about the casual way we disregard the people for whom “rebuilding” is more, far more, than an academic exercise.

I almost feel bad highlighting the shitty comments, because the original story is so good:

At 33rd Street, the boat sitting in the median looks like you could put it in the water and take right off. A block down, St. Patrick Catholic Church, where Dorothy married Frank Shepherd in 1948, and where four of their daughters would follow them down the same aisle, looks ready for Mass.

On Avenue P, between Broadway and the beach, the handsome brown two-story house that sheltered Dorothy’s mom, then a 3-year-old, and her family on a terrifying September night 108 years ago stands without a nick apparent from the street. The “1900 Storm Survivor” plaque marks its historic status. Maybe someone will put up a plaque for Hurricane Ike as well.

On 25th Street, where Dorothy and Frank raised all those kids, the house looks fine. Their former neighbor, Cathy Conlon-Townsend, asked me to grab some medicine left behind in the evacuation to Houston. I find the key right where it’s supposed to be, and get inside easily. There’s no water, no smell and no noticeable wind damage. Another relieved evacuee.

A man in a pickup drives up and parks. Ken Diestler is on the Humane Society board with Ms. Conlon-Townsend. He puts some water out for the 19-year-old cat, Slick, who has been on the porch eating kibble and chicken that neighbors have put out for him.

Galveston’s like that, you see.

You can howl all you want about tax dollars, and this and that, and who should have been where, you can keep talking about that like it means something, but in the end when something like this happens there’s just a giant gaping hole, and the very least you can do, the very very least, is shut the fuck up and pay attention to it. It’s not much, just the soul of a place ripped out, you can’t put a price tag on it and it won’t win a TV contest. It’s not much, to anybody who hasn’t felt it, just your history, just everything that ever mattered to you. Say it was asking for it. I mean, if you want.

A.

7 thoughts on “Shove It Away

  1. So are these heartless fucks screaming and bitching about the BILLIONS of dollars we are pumping into institutions like Bear Stearns and Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and AIG? Billions of our taxpayer dollars going to prop up institutions that lived high on the hog, taking advantage of our neighbors and then, when the time came to face the results of their excesses, came crying to the government, hats in hands, begging for help.
    Nobody asked me, nobody inquired of us voters whether we would like to have our tax moneys used this way. For the record, let me say, I would rather see my money go to help my brothers and sisters in Galveston and NOLA and anywhere that there is a need in an emergency than to have one dollar go to the people who have been screwing us for years and now expect us to save them from their own greed.

  2. butbutbut what about the ones right on the beach. how’d they do? weather channel showed some spiffy high end beach houses built to withstand a category 5 i guess.

  3. I’m a little conflicted on this. I grew up on the west coast of Florida, and heard plenty of hurricane stories growing up. Federal flood insurance made it possible for people to build/buy houses in places that long-term, are just not safe. It’s not so much the monetary moral hazard, as the life-and-limb hazard — if the weather can destroy your house, it’s not too good for you, either.
    But, for decades, that was our policy, and you’d like to think that we’d stand by it, and its consequences, the same way that we are insanely “standing by” our policy of bringing something-or-other to Iraq, the same way that we ought to be supporting the soldiers (and their families) disabled in this war in Iraq.
    By-the-way, a category 5 is something else entirely. It’s hard to imagine a “house” that would withstand one with sufficient safety margin that I would ever stay in it. Friends of ours honeymooned 10 floors up on the beach during Gilbert; their hotel stood, but the storm bashed the first 4 floors with wind-blown conchs, and removed the beach entirely.

  4. Mixed feelings really. Considering the huge number of Texans who were giving NOLA utter shit about being worthless human beings after Katrina, I’d like to say “Karma, you dumb bitches.” But I can’t do that, dammit. I’m not a Republican.

  5. So are these heartless fucks screaming and bitching about the BILLIONS of dollars we are pumping into institutions like Bear Stearns and Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and AIG? Billions of our taxpayer dollars going to prop up institutions that lived high on the hog, taking advantage of our neighbors and then, when the time came to face the results of their excesses, came crying to the government, hats in hands, begging for help.
    And now you canadd the automakers to the list.

  6. I’m kind of with dr2chase here, that is, conflicted. Building an entire city on a barrier island is, actually, a dumb idea, although to be fair, nobody knew it was a dumb idea when the city was built, or why. We’ve really only learnt enough about ecology in the last 30 or 40 years to be able to make that determination.
    I am, however, thinking of what happened in Toronto whenHurricane
    Hazel
    screamed in and pounded the entire place flat. There used to be an entire housing development in the Don Valley (Don River floodplain), all of which got washed out into Lake Ontario, including some of the houses’ unfortunate occupants. I used to live right next to the Don Valley, and if I hadn’t known the history of the region and if you had told me the place used to be full of houses 50 years before, I wouldn’t have believed you — the Don Valley is now a mostly-natural park area (there are some walking trails) and no traces of previous habitation are even visible…
    These days, when the Don River floods, nobody gets washed downriver into Toronto Harbour.

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