Last night on MSNBC somebody compared the plight of Hurricane Katrina's victims to that of the Dustbowl Refugees of the 1930s, who escaped what the commentator called "the opposite of Katrina", a drought that wiped out an entire region.
I was thinking about this in light of what I posted yesterday regarding compassion, and why it's so easy for people to reach out to these victims, while ignoring the homeless in their own towns.
It's pretty much the same thing. When a disaster strikes quickly, we're a caring and compassionate nation, but over time we're not quite so warm-hearted. During the dustbowl period - a disaster that took years to destroy lives - the rest of the country did not respond the way they are now to the people of the Gulf.
The "Okies" were looked down upon, were chased out of town, and treated a problem to be met with violence - anything but compassion or welcoming them as victims of a natural disaster.
This is wonderful that we are all helping the victims of Katrina - that is the way it should be. I just hope that we can keep it up long enough to get people settled, employed, and housed, before the compassion runs out and we start looking for ways to run these poor strangers out of town.