Wednesday, December 5, 2007

I Been Thinkin'

For some people, the fact that we receive -- feel good -- when we give, vitiates the goodness, the virtue, of our giving.

For me, that fact is part of the brilliance in the design of The Way Things Are. That both giver and giftee feel wonderful as a result is somehow a "bad" thing is incomprehensible to me. I find no more shame in that beautiful reciprocity than I find in the joy I feel when I contribute to feeding my family. Isn't that as it should be? Shouldn't I be hard wired to feel joy in the consequences of my generosity? Wouldn't the world be a fabulous place if all of us allowed ourselves to be propelled by that dynamic instead of the warmaking dynamic? Who can deny it?

I've also been thinkin' about whether New Orleans ought to be allowed to be rebuilt. Here's what I think.

When Malibu is banned, and the Keys are banned, and Ft. Walton Beach and Pensacola and Mobile are banned, and Palm Island and Hilton Head are off limits, and when Kill Devil Hills and Holden Beach and the Outer Banks and Martha's Vineyard and Miami and Jacksonville Beach are banned, then maybe we ought to think about New Orleans.

When Galveston is banned, and Sanibel Island, and the Gulf Coast casinos are banned, and when Portland and San Francisco and Seattle and Boston and Baltimore and Kent Island are banned, then maybe we ought to think about New Orleans. A settlement in New Orleans was here long before they were.

When Las Vegas is banned, and Palm Springs, and El Paso, and Tucson and Phoenix and Yuma and Lake Havisu are banned, then maybe we should think about New Orleans.

Who the hell are we? What makes an American an "American"? We like to think it's generosity of spirit and purse. We like to think it's a nobility of mind, something that prefers honor and justice to mere advantage. We like to think it's tolerance of difference.

I been thinkin', and what we like to think bears less and less resemblance to how we are actually behaving.

Only we can do something about that. Which is to say, only you.