Friday, October 26, 2007

We're going to be fine - now get the hell out of here, your plane to D.C. is about to leave

The past week has been surreal. One laced with hyperbole outpacing reality. It was a week where those of us whose houses still stood, felt nothing but guilt. Where no amount of giving or grieving would make us feel any better. The air stank of chemicals and the sky was a toxic orange. You stayed inside or got a headache. It was that elementary.

But it must be said, that when the rebuilding is done and the pain subsides, San Diegans will stand proud knowing that their neighbors stepped up, stepped in and made the pain much less. When you watch national news anchors marvel at the scene at Qualcomm Stadium and find it to be nothing more than the stark antithesis to Katrina, you know we had to have done something right. When amongst the grief counselors and insurance representatives there are live bands, day care and free massage for displaced families you know San Diego is a place to be praised.

Back in the 70's it was often joked that California could successfully secede from the Union and do just fine. Hell, the state's own GNP is higher than France. But it was never more apparent that this state could stand on it's own when a mayor and a governor along with their capable staff brought calm and confidence to a shaken populace. That a 90's action hero, a portly ex-cop and volunteers from every walk of life could be held up as an example for citizenry at home and abroad is nothing short of fantastic. Somewhere around Tuesday night with fires still blazing, the vast majority of San Diegans began to feel that we were going to make it and it was going to be okay. And then, the assholes came.

There was something tainted and incongruous seeing the patronizing ghoul/Department of Homeland Security Chief, Michael Chertoff standing next to Mayor Sanders and Governor Schwarzenegger. You had the feeling that there was this collective snort of disgust being expressed all over the county. As if San Diego residents were saying, "thank you but no thank you, we'll take it from here baldy. Get back on your plane and get the f*ck out of here." Then, only to add insult to insult: The next day he arrived.

Swallowing resources and stalling recovery efforts just so he and his parade of minions and morons could get to Rancho Bernardo to appear concerned before whatever camera would click. The President (I capitalize it our of respect for the office and not the man) stood with the people doing the real work trying to look like he understood the gravity of the situation when you knew he really couldn't grasp what the hell was going on outside of the simple connection he had with clearing dry brush in Crawford. Although, being associated with evacuees and smoking husks of populated areas in arid climes is his oeuvre. But all things equal, he and his kind were unnecessary this week. They distracted from the real heroes in our midst and delivered promises that had the weight of the very ash that fell on his silly polished cowboy boots.

In short, families lost homes, farmers lost millions and the months to come will be virtually Sisyphean; but the county will rebuild and San Diego will become that much more of a destination. Not because of the sun and sand but now because of generosity, tenacity and self-sufficiency; making it a true American city.

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