September 09, 2005



It is true that Americans love to complain and I think that because, for the most part, they have been spoiled living in a country where life is relatively easy. However, at times like this, for example, it is with good reason that they DEMAND help from a government whose role is to support the people. Yes we complain a lot but hey this is the richest country in the world and naturally you would expect more. Living in a rich country has a price. Our cost of living is much, much more than yours so obviously we demand more. We pay higher taxes, higher insurance premiums, ever increasing mortgages, astronomical medical care, etc. etc. Compare it to dining at a ritzy restaurant, staying at the Four Seasons or flying first class...would you still expect the same kind of treatment as you would get at McDonald's for example? Of course not. When one pays more, you expect better, if not best. Having an experience comparable to third-rate or third-world would just not be acceptable. Believe me, you would complain too if you were in the same shoes.

Just remember that it is your right as a tax-paying citizen to demand more from a government that is there to supposedly look out for your best interests. It is not being unpatriotic or uncooperative to question your leaders. They should always be held up to a higher standard so that they can strive to be better. They'll never be perfect anyway so why settle for less?


I think there's a difference (a big difference) between aid and survival. The former speaks of external help for the flood victims while the latter means self-preservation by whatever means possible. Aid is expected while survival is inherent. By being in such a comfortable country where taxes are high resulting in equally higher expectations, it is natural that survival skills and self-initiative have been gradually washed away because one tends to transfer his or her responsibility of living towards the state. And that responsibility is called public welfare. From education, to healthcare to the last cup of Starbucks Macchiato, the citizens of a first-world nation naturally expect the state to provide them of the basic needs. That phenomenon is unlikely to happen here in the Philippines as long as the feudal set-up remains. Since people cannot expect any decent service from GMA, fixers, pre-need companies and health plans thrive in our squalor. But there, it's only natural that during any crisis, victims have to rely on their government for every need- may it be rolls of toilet paper, teddy bears, Pepsi-cola and Oreo cookies- because they rightfully expect that their taxes cover such amenities.

If the government fails them (like the current Bush administration), what then will Americans do? Naturally, sit on their thumbs and complain incessantly. Being rudely awaken from their utopian reverie was such a sudden shock that their initiative to survive (and improvise) was lost. It was probably sheer panic that prompted them to trek to the refugee centers. You can hear it from victims themselves telling CNN that the only thing they have are the clothes they were wearing. You mean they just rushed out of their homes with nothing on their hands thinking "Oh, the government will provide me with everything in the centers, so I guess I ain't gonna bring no provisions whatsoever besides, all my canned goods were blown by Katrina ?" or And once there, they begin to complain the lack of aid and food. Because such is the pressure of welfare being carried by the state, a mere delay of any service during a crisis is prompted by a howl of protest. And rightfully so! Shame on FEMA! In this case, the delay of aid was so obscene that it will have repercussions in Dubya's political future. The public's expectation for an instant result was acute since the situation in New Orleans was rapidly deteriorating into a Somalia-like experience (blacks shooting, blacks looting, etc.) with a blend of Niger (blacks dying on their cots.) This was compounded by Dubya's inadequacies in addressing the problem.

I am not sure how in "deep $#!t" George Bush is in but it is apparent that this will be a very painful lesson for his administration. And perhaps a painful lesson for all Americans knowing that even with their paid taxes and high expectations, their government has failed them in their hour of need. More importantly, probably it was for the public welfare for the Bush administration to order budget cuts for levees or to cast a blind eye over predictions that New Orleans will be flooded in the near future. So much for expectations.

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