During the first days of the fire storms, after Qualcomm was opened up, the first volunteers appeared at the stadium ready to do what they could to help those evacuated. In the end, the stadium held approximately 12,000 San Diegans and their pets, and hundreds of volunteers had swarmed the football center (I never saw a final figure for their numbers) to help out. There was a genuine outpouring of compassion and sympathy for the unfortunate ones. Local politicians, the media and President Bush made much of this solidarity showing “San Diegans comin’ together to help one another.” I saw a few interviews with the volunteers and they were truly kind hearted people.
Then I saw an interview with a young, clean-shaven man, hair slicked back, with a badge on his chest that read “volunteer” and realized I had seen this guy before in front of cameras. That’s it, I knew the guy. He was a well-known, right-wing, media-hog, and new darling of the establishment – who I also believe is running for city council. I immediately switched the channel. (See comments on TV Coverage of the Fires below.) I knew this guy, and he was only there for his own personal and political publicity – yet there he was on TV masquerading as someone with a heart.
That got me to thinking. How is it that the right jumped on the volunteer bandwagon, whereas the progressive community in San Diego sat on our collective yams – although many of us had personal involvement with the fires and evacuations, etc. Why doesn’t the left respond all together when there are wide-spread disasters like the firestorm that hit San Diego County this week? We could. We could have all appeared at Qualcomm in peace, “no war” tee shirts or with buttons, and without pushing our collective agenda, we could have all collectively responded to the storm together to show that we do care for people. It would have given us an outlet for our frustrations at doing nothing while watching thousands of our fellow citizens suffer.
Actually, back in the eighties, I had heard of a large group of Italian activists that did something very similar. They responded to floods and other disasters together – all wearing the same tee shirt with their logo.
We are the ones with the hearts, friends, that’s why we are on the side of peace, justice, the Constitution, and why we care for the disadvantaged, for the environment, and for the rights of all.