Friday, May 28, 2010

New Orleans, Florida, Tucson--places of the heart--at risk

My heart, anyway.

Our culture is threatened, our economy is threatened, and everything that I know and love is at risk.

I was born in the beautiful Southeast with its sugar-white sands, azaleas and hanging moss, night-blooming jasmine. I lived there many years, gave birth there.

So, I could not imagine falling in love with the cactus and rocks of the desert Southwest. But as someone reassured me just before we moved there, the desert has a beauty all its own. And fall in love, I did. I lived in Tucson for six years and hated to move away again.

But while I was there, one of the local hospitals closed, and another in a nearby small town, did, too. Both went bankrupt. Now, local taxpayers in that small town had no hospital. Because so many women came to Arizona to have "anchor babies." Babies who were automatically citizens and a free pass for the parents. Who will grow up in a few years, and vote for radical changes, if the rhetoric is any indication.

The U.S. is a generous country. We want to help others and we do. But the problem is, in a word, gushing. Oil gushing up, illegals gushing in, money gushing out. How can we keep paying the bills for everyone?

Our borders are so open, anyone from anywhere is coming in. We realize many are looking for freedom and opportunity? What about the others, the OTMs, Other Than Mexicans? Where do they come from and what do they want?

Another place is my beloved New Orleans. My wip is set there. My heroine loves the city: its history, music, charm and food. She adds to its art, its laughter. She gets lost for a while in its alleged dark side. Finds peace with God again in the afternoon sunshine. That's my fiction.

Now, in reality, there's our food. On a recent trip, I enjoyed this delicious soft-shell crab.

Others are dying a slow death, by what is to most living things, poison.

By an accident that could have been avoided. By other things, too, long before this.

Seafood restaurants support fishermen, not to mention the restaurateurs, chefs, and wait staff. If the industry adapted and switched to steak and chicken, I wonder:

Who would go to New Orleans for a steak?

I would. Because of everything else there that my heroine loves. Anybody else? Some, not many.

Today, Louisiana's Rep. Charlie Melancon wept in Congress and I wept along with him as he said,

Our culture is threatened, our economy is threatened, and everything that I know and love is at risk.
After struggling with his emotions, he stopped speaking, got up, and left the room. The chairman assured him in respectful tones that everyone was praying for the people along the Gulf.

I know I am.


Warren Baldwin said...

Touching post. I've seen some of the interviews with fisherman and others who live along the coast. It is heart-rending.

Margo Carmichael said...

Thank you, Warren, for your compassion.

Margo Carmichael said...

From my friend, Gigi:

Margo, having grown up in NOLA and spent lots of time on the gulf coast from South Padre Island to St. Pete, I am truly heart sick. Although BP is working on the wasted oil spilling in to the gulf, Louisiana's esteemed governor has offered several proactive plans to keep the oil from damaging the coastal areas. All he has gotten in return is interference from federal agencies. Yes, our president has visited the area, but has spent his time "visiting folks"...sort of like campaigning...without taking action to really help their situation. Yes, BP is paying, but why couldn't action have been taken to protect our tourist beaches and the livelihood of our citizens? It couldn't all have been prevented, but it could have been lessened with proper action. We knew the oil would come on shore and it still is.

Margo Carmichael said...

And no telling when it will stop.