Thursday, March 5, 2020

In Memoriam

As I listen and watch the news about the tornado that hit Nashville this week I am amazed at how biased and utterly useless the media is when covering a natural disaster.  They focus on the human toll and find those who fit the "profile" of victim; Usually of course poor, white trash and some quasi famous or religious figure in the community.   They rarely speak to Politicians who are there just offering hopes and prayers but not discussing the matter in depth and in this case the lack of an infrastructure that enables people to have a better warning system other than a cell phone.  They also fail to discuss the lack of medical and emergency resources particularly in rural communities which have seen those decimated in the past few years as States and Cities struggle for revenue and Nashville is no exception.

Red state blue state all states have had a state of emergency over the last decade, from climate change that has led to drought, fires, to an over abundance of water and floods from storms and overflow of rivers.  The large scale damages brought to our American towns and cities are largely due to failed infrastructure upgrades and long term plans for disasters.

I have no love lost for Nashville none.  The irony that a large scale tornado blew through less than a week after I left did at one point make me laugh.  I tried the entire time I lived there to be a white light of positive energy while around me was the darkest of light that consistently attempted to put out said light.  So for a tornado to come in the dark of night and the blackest of clouds go right up the street from the hotel I was staying only seemed to validate my belief in the forces of energy that followed me in my time there.

To point out that the region is highly religious is significant and I cannot stress enough the endless proclamations and justifications using God as there base.  The belief that one is facing the wrath of Jesus for failures personal is why bad things happen to you.   And that from accepting the Lord and Jesus Christ (here is it only two dudes not three as in the trinity another nod to hating Catholicism) as your personal Savior you cannot be a member of the tribe and the South is very tribal.

Tennessee was finally addressing the flood of a decade ago and what that meant was well acknowledging it happened and from that it rose above the waters like Jesus walked on them and in turn Nashville became the designated "it" city.  With this came resentment, anger and more obstinance by the powers of the State to ensure that its sad rural towns and neglected own place in the state was not ignored.  But money like a river flows and the Cumberland flows through Nashville with boats that are full of cash by those who see opportunity and zones that come with it regardless of the history and the people that align its shores.

Nashville is a city awash with historical makers (as are most cities in the South) and they proclaim and event, person, a place that once was there as some way to validate, explain or more likely excuse the fact that the racism and violence of the South has now been replaced with a much more lucrative hierarchy provided by money and it can buy all the class and power it wants.  Classism comes from money, from history, old versus new and in the South the cities are dominated by a few families who wish to keep it that way but that way means allowing a few carpetbaggers to dock at your ports and sit a spell have some sweet tea and let the businessmen talk business while the women make the biscuits. Its Patriarchy and Misogyny at its finest as again no loss noting that South Carolina and Tennessee are tied as the top five states with issues corresponding to Domestic Violence.  Note that the next time you are profiling a marvelous story on growth and legacy in the South.

So once again Nashville is at a crossroads and I suspect Margaret Renkyl, the town crier, will take to my Bible, The New York Times, to upbraid and remind those that Anderson Cooper failed to show up at all this time during the cities time of need.  To her I say take a dose of shut the fuck up bitch.  You have way more problems and this is just one of the 99 others and Nashville this is not the first nor last but this was coming and few seemed to get "it" but then again who gets anything there.

The area in Nashville that was hit was gentrification central, Germantown and East Nashville, specifically the area of the 5 points.  East Nashville is like a pie piece in a quadrant and it runs outward of the city and is framed by two major roads - Dickerson Pike and Gallatin with the highway running the adjacent East that leads to the airport and in turn cuts the city into its pie shape. That highway is run though the city as it circles the West and North and cuts deliberately through North Nashville as it was and largely is a black owned area of the city.  The history behind that was also ugly as well much is in Nashville. 

But now again that area will be ripe for the money men and their ability to finally rid themselves of a problem that stops them from making Nashville Great Again and they will arrive checks in hand and they will be outstretched in Churches (the real way to get attention, submission and permission) to buy off the damaged goods.  They did it in the flood and they will do it again.

The issue about tornado warnings has like floods been addressed and ignored and will be again.  It is a system of piecemeal bullshit that relies on the loose connections that define the infrastructure there.  That is Nashville bury the problems with the dirt, the damage and make it shiny and pretty no one will remember or care.  Keep it simple stupid and well stupid is as stupid does and they are pretty stupid there.  The schools and education there ensure that.

My time there was marked by two tornado warnings, one at 6:30 am on the way to a school I was working at and I heard sirens had no idea what they were but turned onto the radio and they said it was likely missing the area but to take shelter.  I was at the mall across the street and parked in the garage there thinking that it would be the best place for the vehicle as it was a rental but still and I ran across the street to the school with a bus driver in tow as that is also a shelter spot.   It was nothing and the day went on. The second was a few weeks later at 5 pm and I was just turning on the news and I heard the sirens raced downstairs to my entrance and pulled plants, pots and stuff out of harms way and went into my bathroom to wait it out.  After a few minutes the power was on still I was listening to news and then the weather turned black and a ferocious rain and wind hit and when I came downstairs the next morning my entrance was flooded and my downstairs neighbors was as well so we cleaned it up and I bought a door jam specifically for that type of damage/weather which I used a few times during my time there. And there were businesses and others who seemed utterly ignorant on how to prepare and circumvent this type of damage and I too had no knowledge nor information about this until well I did and I took it seriously.  In Nashville no one listens to the news, takes any information seriously and unless money is involved don't give a flying fuck about anyone.

I thought about what if something had happened to me while I was there and even if I was there during this week and if anyone would give a shit.  And the answer is no.

So no I am not pearl clutching, praying, hand wringing nor dancing with joy over this disaster as I know another is coming.  The word "safe" is used so frequently in Nashville its the cities safe word and no on gives a flying fuck. Stay safe, I just want you to be safe, for safety's sake.  They say it when getting a coffee its utterly useless.

So when the media pulls out from profiling the tragedies, my favorite was a former American Idol winner, Taylor Hicks, who lives in Germantown or actually in Buena Vista a once ironclad Black area talk about hiding in his closet in the garage I knew the worst was over.

Money talks and walks and in a part of the country that eschews regulation and disclosure laws about damage from floods, water, fire and the like now is the time to head down cash in hand.  Bring a van of workers you corral from other expensive areas like New Jersey and New York and tell them there is no State Income taxes and the cost of living is less (not really as the sales tax on all goods and services pretty much kills that and now with some of the housing destroyed the cheap dumps that hold several folks will be jacked up as well nothing says taking advantage in a time of need more than Nashville) and that the quality of life is just easy breezy in the South and viola you are now a new member of the tribe!

When I lived there I never met more con artists and jacked up idiots in pursuit of wealth in my life, the crime, the violence, the issues with drugs and alcohol and of course the faux religion did nothing that made me want to stay on those rocky shores.  The water there is blood red but colder than any blue water I have encountered in the North.  I live next to the Hudson and funny that is one river I feel safe next to but then again safe is a word I never hear here.   I don't need to as if you are that stupid to not take care of yourself here then you need not be here.  Hey I know of somewhere you can go.

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