Saturday, September 17, 2005

Heroes in our Midsts

There is greatness among us. The government is flying survivors of the New Orleans around the country hundreds of them have arrived in Chicago. A lot of them are poor and presently homeless but the stories now bubbling from the waters of New Orleans are of the poor and black as action heroes.

Like the comic book team the Fantastic Four, the old, sick and poor of New Orleans faced unprotected, nature’s full fury. Their lives proved more powerful than storm and the heroes within them sprang forth.

Like the “Soul Patrol” three forty-something, rasta-lookng guys with a boat who rescued something like five hundred people and delivered life saving food and medicine to as many.

Flood survivors tell stories of “looters” are who seem not just American heroes but role models to the youth of the world. Like the gang bangers in the Convention Center who were moved to nobility by abandoned senior citizens. The old people had apparently ridden out the hurricane in their nursing home, then gotten themselves, walker, wheelchairs, canes and all to the superdome only to be turned away because too many were there already. The seniors then made their way to the Convention Center where they arrived at wet, smelly and famished.

At the sight of suffering elders, like the Incredible Hulk when angered, something powerful arose within the gangbanging breast. Dozens of “thugs and hoodlums” organized themselves on the spot into a militia to protect the aged and safeguard the honor of the womenfolk. According to one survivor the “merciless criminals” formed teams to “loot” abandon stores of juice for babies, food for all, clothes for seniors who’d been wet for days and yes beer for those who wanted some. It makes me pray that under similar condition my children would become not just “looters.” But the best damn “looters” the nation has ever seen!

Now many of these folks are scattered, like honorable seeds among, the citizens of Chicago, Houston and elsewhere. But the problems they had in the Big Easy may follow them here. Who knows what another year may bring. Does abandonment to a cat five hurricane by your government drive one mad? Is heroism a cure for addiction, poverty or racism?

The next homeless, disabled or old and black person you see on the Michigan Avenue, a few weeks ago, could have been rowing grandmothers to safety or rescuing babies from rooftops. And if there’s a Jihadi attack or earthquake poor and homeless heroes may again rise to our rescue. Who knows? Beyond the tattoos and prison yard physique, beneath that smelly coat and matted hair may lurk a cape and a spandex suit with a big red “S.”


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