Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A sane reaction

Last week I wrote about the UL Vermilion staff editorial, which you might remember for making this bold statement:

Then there are the type of people who were unable to leave town had no transportation. Why? Because they had no jobs. Why? Because they’d simply rather not work. If you’re able-bodied enough to steal a television set and arms full of designer clothing, you’re able-bodied enough to get a job and buy a car like I did. If you were stuck in the city because you were just too lazy to work, don’t expect my sympathy.

Reflecting my description of this piece as a "smug, analysis-free, first-draft editorial," a student has written his own response in today's issue of the Vermilion. That person would be my good friend Dave Yost, a one-time Peace Corps worker and current graduate student from Missouri. Here's what he writes:

Dear Editor,

How disappointing, how infuriating it is to open the Vermillion this week and see that your staff response to Hurricane Katrina is nothing more than “your suffering is your fault, and we have no sympathy.” Of course we’re all frustrated with those individuals who have been sniping at government helicopters or looting electronics stores, but to pretend that this represents all of the tens of thousands of Katrina victims is the most callous stupidity. I’m sorry you lost your house, Mr. West--I really am--but that doesn’t give you an excuse to suggest that the suffering and the dead of New Orleans had it coming. Maybe after they publish the lists of the dead you can help us sort out which were the “genuine poor” who deserved life, and those lazy people who really should have drowned.

I’ve never loved Lafayette as much as I have this week, watching the endless influx of volunteers to the Cajundome, the donations from every local business, the church congregations gathering supplies and food, the librarians working round the clock to help people find relatives and government aid, the families taking total strangers into their homes, and most impressive of all, the evacuees who are turning right around and helping the other evacuees find what they need to make it through the day. It’s too bad the Vermillion couldn’t lend its voice to this effort, instead of spitting in its face.

Dave Yost
M.A. Student, Dept. of English

I couldn't have said it better. Rock on, Dave.


Mikel said...

Nice job.

PusBoy said...

Oh, sure. Next thing you know, he'll complain about the president. What a liberal! (Hands on hips with smirk on face.)

Lisa said...

Could you please send Dave my hotmail address? I went to Truman with him and then lost touch when he went to the Peace Corps and I studied abroad in France. It's "lisainrennes". Thank you!!!!!