Through the entirety of this last twoish months I have been in my own world. Everyone is. It’s what we do, as humans, as Americans. I have returned home post-internship, unemployed, driver’s license-less, lacking health insurance, living with my boyfriend’s family because I have nowhere else to go…pitying myself. It’s true. I had completely forgotten, in light of all my bullshit, that there were 33 men trapped miles and miles below a desert in another continent, another hemisphere. But tonight, after I watched the last couple miners come up in the capsule (as it stands currently, they have just gotten out the second-to-last rescue worker and were working on the final), after I saw how well organized and prepared Chile was…I was in shock. I still am. And that is precisely what bothers me.
It is not the fact that I am shocked at the disaster itself, how 33 men left for work one morning and didn’t come back. I am bothered by the fact that I am so amazed that they are all alive. The reason this story is so fantastic, and I mean that in the most literal sense, and that it has captivated so many people is because of this fact. We are so used to seeing people die for no good reason at all. We are so accustomed to the fact that no one wants to help anyone else unless it benefits them or their own. We are so jaded by tragedy that we have forgotten what it is to feel like a connected group of human beings, to feel overjoyed that we are alive and breathing at this very moment.
I think what scares me the most is that I’m fairly certain that I subconsciously expected these men to die, just like in every other situation. I expected rescue efforts to fail. I expected tears and heartache and ceremonies every year until someone forgot about it. Until another disaster happened and no one was prepared, no one took notes from the last time. Nothing changed.
I sincerely hope that through this mess, our president and our government as a whole can take note. I hope that maybe this will remind everyone that there is still destruction and people left homeless in the area affected by Katrina. That even though the well is sealed in the Gulf, there are still jobs, incomes, and animals who didn’t ask for this affected by the spill. There is still plenty to clean up; this is not over. I hope that in the future, even though someone doesn’t pay, say, a $75 fee (because they perhaps cannot afford to) for a group of firemen to save her or his home when it is absolutely necessary, said firemen actually take the blaze down. And if they don’t, the other people around do.