President Obama is one of those types, often seen among liberals, who care deeply about abstractions and are angry about the “oppression” of the have nots by the haves. But when it comes to the person right next to them? Meh.
For Obama, what gets him going are the social justice issues that he started getting angry about in his dorm room at Occidental, particularly racism, which he thinks is still endemic in society.
I think the biggest thing the drives Obama, politically, at least, is anger. I guess if I grew up black in a society where there was still plenty of racism at the time, and with two parents who mostly — and in his dad’s case, completely — ignored me, I’d be a little angry too.
And yet, whatever the cause, the result is this president.
Anger is a passion, but it is a passion of aloofness, one that separates you from others. That’s why Obama gets so worked up when an unarmed black man is killed by a cop, but he hardly seems to notice — or at least never remarks upon — the thousands of young African American men being killed in our society by other black men. Because the cop killing feeds into his view of the world, which is driven by anger at injustice, not by compassion for the suffering.
How else to explain that there are massive human tragedies occurring in both Louisiana and California, and we are hearing not a peep out of this president, who today is golfing, again, with some of his rich friends on Martha’s Vineyard.
I know many of you think if he got involved he would just make things worse. But he could at least use the bully pulpit to get people to donate and to let the federal agencies know that this is a presidential priority, in addition to his golf handicap.
In Lousiana, flooding, as of the current count, has killed at least 13 people. About 40,000 homes have been damaged or destroyed, 30,000 people have had to be saved, and 1,300 are in shelters.
A White House Dossier reader, also named Keith, emails me. He lives there, and he is trying to help:
Lots of tears today. I’ll wear my sunglasses inside tomorrow so that when the ladies come to my table and cry and ask questions, they at least won’t have to see me cry too. I guess that’s my sensitive side. But, really, if you have had a neighbor who has lost a house and car, it’s touching. If 350 people are in the same building with you and all of them have lost it all, it’s overwhelming.
Keith’s home, fortunately, was spared. He writes:
The clean up and restoration will take a decade, as Katrina has, forty to fifty thousand homes all requiring new drywall, new paint, new electric wiring, etc. Simply will not happen overnight. I’m exhausted, so I’m off to bed soon. Thanking God and gravity that I have a bed, not a cot in the gymnasium of the Hammond Community Center.
While Keith tries to provide assistance and calls out to his friends to help, Obama has made no appearances and no public statements. Because, since nature has no agenda, it doesn’t mean to cause harm, and so it can’t be a focus of your moral outrage.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune lists a few ways you can help. Among them:
• Red Cross
Accepting: Donations via telephone. Call 1-800-REDCROSS or text LAFLOODS to 90999 to donate $10
• Companion Animal Alliance, Baton Rouge’s city animal shelter
Needs: Foster homes to house pets temporarily, large bath towels, paper towels, water and food for volunteers and staff. Donations can be made online to assist with these needs by going to the organization’s website, www.CAABR.org.
• NOLA Pay It Forward
Accepting: Greater New Orleans Foundation collecting donations to aid neighboring parishes in early relief and rebuilding efforts. Access the site here.
• United Way of Southeast Louisiana
Accepting: Donations online by going through the United Way of Southeast Louisiana’s website. Checks can also be mailed to: United Way of Southeast Louisiana, ATTN: Flood Relief, 2515 Canal Street, New Orleans, LA 70119
The fires in California are not as localized, and right now the best way to contribute, I think, is to go to the Red Cross disaster relief page.
This is one man’s week. He’s looking for people to help.
This is another’s week. He’s looking for his golf ball.