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On Heroes and Dignity and Slavery

A friend of mine posted something recently that I thought really hit the nail on the head.  I have pasted it below for your reading pleasure.

I would like to add my own thoughts to what she calls the “Katrina Problem.”  Our reliance on ‘heroes’ also has an impact on our own perception of ourselves.  There are a lot of people out there who, in the name of love, stoop low to help others.  When you do this often enough in an all encompassing and pervasive way, the people cannot help themselves any longer.  (You could ask:  So, did you really help them?).   When people can’t help themselves, they become demoralized.   When you tell them over and over again that they can’t help themselves, and constantly reach in to ‘help’ them, all you’ve done is strip them of their dignity and enslaved them- to you.  If we want free men and women in this country we must actually treat them as free men and women.   When we help them, we must not enslave them.  And, as Americans, we must ask ourselves how much of the ‘help’ we are receiving actually has the net effect of enslaving us…

Here is my friend’s post….


I watched a special on Katrina a while ago–all this crazy behind the scenes footage of what was going on in the streets while all of that was happening.  People laying and dying on curbsides.  Bodies floating by.  People gathered into the big arena and not given enough food or supplies.  People stuck and no one helping them.  I tried to imagine how it would feel.  How helpless.  And how confused I would be at why no one was coming to help.  Where was the government or the armed services?  It would have boggled my mind if I had been there.

I know that scads of people blamed President Bush’s administration for this because most people don’t realize that he kept asking the governor to let the armed services come in and she kept putting him off.  The reason she kept saying no is because for the armed services to come in, they would have to take control of the state.  This is what made the governor waver.  To let the help come in would be to cede control of the state.  To have martial law.  Now you can argue that she shouldn’t have been concerned about that.  You might also argue that she should have been ignored and the federal government should have taken control right away to save more people.  But her problem, The Katrina Problem, is the problem with America.

We want a hero.  We want our jobs saved, our schools saved, our families saved, our economy saved, etc.   But when we ask for this kind of deliverance, we need to realize that if we get what we want, it will mean ceding control.  And we need to decide if this is really what we want.

Take health care.  I know things are screwed up.  I know insurance companies are evil.  We cry, SOMETHING MUST BE DONE.  But to ask the country to take over means we cede control of our own health.  The government would have martial law on our own bodies–when we can go to the doctor and when we can’t.  What we can have done and what we must wait for.  Is that what we want?

I thought of all this yesterday when I realized the horrible governor of my state was going to be re-elected AGAIN.  (Sigh.)   He’s a do-nothing governor who takes credit for things that the two previous administrations put in place who wasn’t even elected originally but appointed and now we can’t seem to get him out.  (I heard recently that he might be a closet homosexual and I was actually hoping it was true and would get out so that homophobe republicans in Texas would finally get rid of him.)  I was trying to think of anything I knew of that he’d done that was good for our state, and I thought of something.

When the federal government was handing out bail outs, a number of governors, including mine, refused the money.  Not because we didn’t need it, but because he didn’t want to accept the money AND the strings that the federal government would attach to the “gift.”  He did it to keep the federal government from gaining controls over our state.  Way to go, Rick Perry.

But this is what made me realize The Problem With America.  We want a hero, but we don’t consider what we will lose if we allow that hero to have control.


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