djonn: Self-portrait (Default)
No, I didn't invert that title accidentally. I've been reading a lot of comments in various quarters in the wake of the Katrina disaster on what should have been/should be/isn't being done in response to what's happened -- in large part prompted by a call by the mayor of New Orleans to flood various federal offices and officials with complaints urging them to Do Something Now.
Which is a natural instinct in our present culture of complaint and protest -- but to my mind, exactly the wrong response to present circumstances.

Time (and the labor it represents) is a resource. And right now, the most constructive use of that resource is not complaining, it's doing. Ten thousand quarter-hours spent writing aggrieved emails to George Bush (who will, say all too many of the letter writers, ignore them anyway) are ten thousand quarter-hours that have not been spent in the community, helping people cope with the disaster. Nor do you need to be in New Orleans or Texas or elsewhere in Katrina's path for those quarter-hours to matter; your quarter-hour can go toward replacing the labor of someone in your community who's gone to New Orleans or is otherwise responding in person to the Katrina crisis. It can go toward helping out in your local schools or in other social service programs for which funding may be reduced as Congress diverts money to dealing with Katrina's aftermath.

And what's more, if enough people stop spending enough quarter-hours complaining to the government and start acting to help address the needs of their own communities, the government might not -- gasp! -- need to spend so much time and money addressing those problems with bureaucratic solutions. (We might, as Arlo Guthrie suggests, start a movement....)

Have You Heard This?

"Changing from bad to good's as easy as...taking your first step!"

-- Kris Kringle (to the Winter Warlock)
Santa Claus is Coming to Town

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