|Exploding transformers light up a tornado as it slams into the University|
of Southern Mississippi campus in Hattiesburg on Feb. 11, 2013.
"I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, people for the American Way, all of them have tried to secularize America – I point the finger in their face and say, 'you helped this happen,'" Falwell said to a nodding Robertson, who "totally concurred."
Yesterday, after spending hours hunkering down with my family through siren after siren, I found out that 30 minutes away, in my college town of Hattiesburg, friends and classmates were looking at the apocalyptic ruins of buildings that have long stood on our campus, one for over a hundred years. Some had homes wrecked. Others had been forced to lay low as a monster tornado slammed into the Performing Arts Center. I spent panicked hours trying to get in touch with friends and family, which wasn't easy, because so many had lost reception. I watched as a flood of pictures came in through social media showing the devastation, my beautiful campus at Southern Miss in shambles. Though I now know that all of my friends and family are okay, it was, at the time, heart wrenching.
And then, I made the mistake of reading comments on news sites and liberal blogs. If I was expecting comfort or solace from strangers, I was in for a shock in some cases. "Payback's a bitch," one said, in reference to the initial vote by my Congressman, Steven Palazzo, not to pass a Hurricane Sandy relief bill. In fairness, he did end up becoming one of only 67 Republicans to vote for it, and he urged others to, as well.
But facts are funny things, and sometimes they are inconvenient to the narratives people have already set their hearts on. One person wrote that, since we're a red state, we don't believe in mooching, they'd assume, so we won't need any aid in Hattiesburg. Another comment I read was from a self-avowed liberal who hoped the tornado only hit white areas, maybe sparing the two white people in the state who don't wear KKK hoods on weekends.
In other words, Hattiesburg residents deserved the tornado and were hit as punishment for the fact that Mississippi is a Republican voting state. That's never mind the fact that Hattiesburg has consistently re-elected Johnny DuPree, a black Democrat, to be its mayor. How is that any better than the likes of Falwell and Robertson blaming other national disasters on our liberality?
After I read some disappointing comments on Democratic Underground, I posted this response to the DU community to share my feelings. Excuse any errors in grammar and any not-so-well-thought-out points; I was reeling:
I see a lot of people politicizing it, saying we don't deserve it because we are in the South and we elect Republicans, and our Congressman didn't vote for Sandy Aid (he actually did, despite the fact that he's an asshole). And I'm just so disgusted at some of the comments here-- "Payback's a bitch" and "You deserve nothing."
Hattiesburg is one of the most progressive, diverse, accepting, and wonderful places in Mississippi. It's an oasis in a sea of ignorance, poverty, and depression.
And regardless of who we elect to Congress, regardless of the ignorance, the people here are good, loving, and just like after Katrina, I've seen it in action today. People running outside before the storm was even over to help neighbors and take care of one another. People who really do believe in "love thy neighbor."
And the disconnect I witness from certain liberals here outside of my state is astounding. How can a person who calls himself or herself a liberal be so wrapped up in finding a political point in everything that you have no sense of decency, compassion, etc., that you categorize the worth and pain of people based on how they vote, and that your immediate reaction isn't compassion, but hateful political attacks?
It's just disgusting. And saddening. And hurtful. I have worked so hard along with many of my progressive friends to make this a better place, and I am so tired of progressives and liberals from outside of here looking down on us and attacking us every chance you get. It's no wonder people down here don't give liberals a chance. Because a lot of you spend all your time looking down on us with upturned noses.
And your initial reaction to tragedy is hateful, political attacks?
I've been heartbroken multiple times today. I was heartbroken again when I came on here and read some of the callous comments people were making about the wonderful people of Hattiesburg in their time of need.Thankfully, the good people at DU proved to me that most people don't think that way. It appears the ones that do were too ashamed or otherwise cowardly to step foot into the thread. But if you do approach the world like Jerry Falwell, how can you call yourself a liberal or a progressive? Because if you think Mississippi doesn't deserve aid because our state votes Republican, then you've misunderstood both America and liberalism just as badly as Jerry Falwell misunderstood Christianity.