Daily Archives: 19 September 2005

first soccer training

Gus had his first soccer practice today. Robert made a little video clip of it with the digital camera, and I will see if I can figure out how to make it accessible to you, either sticking it in here somewhere, or providing a link where you can download it. Robert says it shouldn’t be too difficult (um, hello, who is the webmaster here?) but in fact he is probably right. But however easy it should be, I just don’t have the brain space for a new thing right now.

But the training was good, and it was an excellent decision to put Gus in soccer in Buchbach instead of Dorfen. Robert’s brother coaches the teenagers on the same pitch on the same day, so Gus gets to see him, and a cousin teaches the slightly-more-advanced little guys, so might be Gus’s coach in a year or two, and the guy who coached Robert is still there, sort of supervising the coaches and helping out from time to time. And Oma and Opa are there, and it is an excellent arrangement. Gus is a really moody guy, increasingly so over the last few months, I don’t know what’s going on there. But apparently Bavarians are generally crabby, so no one seems fazed by it but me.

My brother Nate has gone South to help with the mess left by the hurricane. I talked to his wife last night, and she says his company asked for volunteers to go down there. They’re covering his salary while he’s gone, and paying him overtime because he’ll be working 14-hour days, which is splendid of them. He’s going to be helping to assess the damage and advise on reconstruction, I think she said. I am tremendously proud of him for helping out, glad the family is represented, and wishing I could do something similar, even without pay, since my salary here makes us more comfortable, but we don’t really depend on it. I’ve tried to figure out a way to get down there, but it’s just too much right now, too hard, too impractical at both ends – leaving my life here for however long, but also there – I don’t know anybody, so I’d just be consuming resources and occupying space that is badly needed by other people. The people who are down there helping out are heroes, though.

Shel and I also talked about Mom. Shel is generally pretty cheerful and optimistic, so I rather expected her to put a good face on it, but she says she thinks it’s not going well, and she’s worried. She had also just talked to Mom, and Mom told her to tell me to come in October and not wait for the birthday/Thanksgiving thing. As it is, Nate will be on the Gulf Coast then, or just newly returned home, so it’s not a great time for them to have guests either. So I booked a flight for Seattle today. I’ll be gone October 6th to the 21st, but I should still be blogging, I think. I have to take my computer and try to keep up with my database course, so I’ll need to be online anyway, somehow. Not sure how Mom’s internet connection will work, not sure if I can find a WLAN hotspot anyway. Now I rather wish I had a slightly better knowledge of how that works, since I won’t be able to depend on Robert to figure it out for me. Well, something will have to work out, I suppose.

Last thing: it’s COLD! Ack! Beautifully sunny today, but the wind was chilly. I haven’t been able to get warm for days.

Proud. Angry.

I want to say this about the whole Katrina mess. I am deeply proud of my countrymen and how they are pulling together to help the victims. The money donated, the homes opened, the volunteers lining up to hand out soup and blankets and hugs, touches my heart and restores my faith in Americans. There are a lot of good people there, and I did need to be reminded of that.

But I also want to ask why it was necessary for so many homes to be opened, for so much money to be given, for so many ordinary people to step out of their daily lives and go to help. I love them for doing it, but the fact is, they only have to because the government has failed, and that makes me angry. Why does the richest nation in the world have to rely on private handouts to help its own citizens in a crisis? This is what federal government is for – even the limited-government advocates admit that. Americans sacrificed their civil liberties for safety, and the safety they got was an illusion. All this money has gone to the Department of Homeland Security and Americans are not secure. The money went to inept political cronies and the victims of Katrina were abandoned to their fate, and all across the country, people are rightly wondering if they’ll be next.

I don’t know anybody in the affected area. I don’t know New Orleans, except as a cultural icon, and I loved it for that. I’ve been distraught at the suffering of the people there, and outraged at the way they are being treated – reconstruction contracts handed over to Halliburton, with permission to pay substandard wages and no guarantee that the displaced, who’ve lost everything, will even be hired for the project. How are they supposed to rebuild their lives? The government is already moving to shift blame and to profit from the disaster – to make a quick buck and stay in power. They don’t care that people suffer, and we always knew that about them, but we elected them anyway. And we can’t even ask ourselves how this could have happened, because all along we knew that they don’t care.

We knew.