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Meet the Columnist

Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the Columnists.com, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern
Humorists.com
  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com

    To carry her weekly column in your newspaper, or to republish an article, please contact her. It's that easy. 

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New Atlantis....
   

New Atlantis


I couldn't write humor this week. I could only sit in front of the television and watch New Orleans sink into the ocean like a New Atlantis. The scenes of destruction are overwhelming, but the human suffering is the chord that strikes the soul and shocks the senses.

We have all seen such scenes before but it was during war, terrorism, the tsunami, or in third world places, not here in affluent America. Even with 9/11 the tragedy was quick, death merciful and fast. People were dying an inch at the time and we could only sit and watch in glazed horror.

We felt moved to DO something. We wanted to fight back. Yet the misery was so great that we didn't know which way to turn and our wish to help seemed in vain. Did we send money? Of course we did. But it seemed so little in a tragedy so great, and so long-term when the need was so immediate.

Where was TEMA? Where were the police and emergency personnel? Where were the people that are supposed to help? Where was the military? We grew increasingly frustrated as anguish turned to anger, anger turned to frustration, and frustration turned back to more anguish.

It isn't supposed to be like this. But there is the undeniable reality of a city drowning while we watched and weep. Our hearts are wounded, our world turned upside down, our believe of what should be and what "is" knocked from it's foundation by the same wave of horror that has destroyed a major city.

We will long ponder this past week, our response, and our lack of response, our concern, and our lack of concern. We will be more fearful, not only of the terrorists that threaten us from outside but of our own inability within to cope with dysfunction and the unexpected without being overwhelmed.

We have seen hurricanes before, many of them. But this time it hit a city that was a fragile target; it punched us in a glass jaw. We have created artificial environments, cities behind levees, below sea level, dependant on electricity and services to sustain a large population in a small area. And when the sea comes to reclaim its own territory, we are helpless to prevent it.

We are told by sociologists that a situation like New Orleans is called "anomie," a state of lawlessness, anarchy, when norms break down and people are left without rules or order. Chaos rules. We are fighting a third Gulf War, an urban war, but this time it is in our own Gulf instead of a Gulf thousands of miles away.

We failed to respond quickly enough. Many have died that would not have had reaction been quick enough. Hundreds of people dying of thirst do not have time to be patient.

I can't write funny this week. I will write humor when I am not thinking about babies dying from dehydration, old people left to rot in the streets, and when there is food, water and shelter for the surging masses of humanity with the standards of common decency that we have all come to see as right.

May God help them and all of us who could only watch and pray.


Copyright 2005 Sheila Moss

 
 



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