Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Iowans aren't complaining; they're dealing

You've probably seen the news stories of the great flooding we've had that started here on the Mississippi, spread through Iowa and is now inundating Missouri.
The Euros loved to gloat and assign blame about all the things that went wrong in New Orleans in the flooding during Katrina. Funny thing is though...New Orleans is probably one city that is about as close to the European social welfare state as anything the US has.

A friend of mine writes for the St. Paul Pioneer Press newspaper in the Twin Cities. Where are all the media now...when you can see a picture of the "real" America.

A must read: Joe Soucheray / Saint Paul Pioneer Press

Maybe I missed it because I have been doing my best to not watch CNN, but I don't think Anderson Cooper has rented a rowboat and paddled around Cedar Rapids or Des Moines with a concerned look on his face. If it wasn't Cooper who paddled around New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina, I apologize; but even if he didn't go out in a boat, he was at the edge of the water with a concerned look on his face.
CNN has been on in our house far too much lately, what with the prolonged presidential campaigns and what have you, and I seem to spend a lot of time going from room to room, trailing a certain news junkie, turning off televisions. We live in a house politically divided, but I am the one who is energy-conscious. I have developed a theory about CNN, incidentally, if not all major news sources. If you woke up after a five-year coma and you were in a windowless room with only CNN as your exposure to the world, you would not want to leave the room. You would think that life — particularly American life — was ruined and beat up, from high gas and food prices, bad weather and various diseases. They report storms as though there are not supposed to be storms. They report hot weather in New York in June with utter astonishment.
In any event, maybe it wasn't Cooper; maybe it was one of the always-available movie stars who showed up in New Orleans with a rowboat. Sean Penn? That rings a bell. I think Sean Penn brought a boat with an outboard motor and he went around New Orleans acting concerned.
The floods in Iowa must not be glamorous enough to attract the usual gloom-and-doom crowd. Then again, nobody in Iowa is complaining or blaming. Nobody has left his or her post. Nobody is crying foul. A large congratulations might be sent to Iowa, or Iowans, who seem to be dealing with their floods the only way possible, by dealing with them.
There is a little town in Iowa, Chelsea, that was flooded out in 1993 and now is experiencing another bout. That town could have been moved back in 1993, with the help of federal aid, but most everybody stayed. The mayor of Chelsea, Roger Ochs, had the following to say to the New York Times in a piece the Pioneer Press carried Monday:
"Most of the time in '93 you could walk anywhere in hip boots. The water, it's not life threatening here. That's what I can't get across to people in the news.''
Ochs added the following: "Right now, fewer than 10 homes have water in their living quarters. Last night, I mowed my lawn.''
Apparently, Ochs lives on a spot of high ground, but his point was such a delightful contrast to most of what we read or hear in the news. It corroborates my CNN/Big News theory that Ochs has had to insist to the media that the floodwaters are not threatening anybody's life.
Granted, Chelsea is a little town — 300 people or so — about 70 miles northeast of Des Moines. But Cedar Rapids and Des Moines and Iowa City have experienced serious flooding. The residents just keep plugging away, and so far, I haven't heard anybody say the high water is George Bush's fault. The weather turned sour, the rains fell hard and the rivers flooded. There's been nothing pleasant about it, nothing at all. But let's fill some sandbags and keep on moving on.
Also, if I am not mistaken, the people in Iowa who were asked to evacuate from certain significantly flooded areas did so. They evacuated. I am sure if you poked around enough in Iowa you could find disgruntled souls, but there has been no large-scale blame cast elsewhere, to Washington, for example, or FEMA.
There isn't anybody for Cooper to interview. And they sure don't need Sean Penn.
Good for Iowa.

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