First of all, let me get this off my chest. You knew I was going to say something like this, but Dan Rather says it with so much more authority:
You would have to be the most incompetent or most uninterested journalist in the world to fail to find stories down here in this drama. For example, right under my own nose this morning, I can’t rouse my boys early to go to church (today is the Feast of the Transfiguration). I don’t think it’s because they’re too tired from mucking all day yesterday. I think they’re too shaken up by what they saw of the destruction of people’s lives by the flood, especially the old lady who nearly died of a heatstroke in her flooded home, right in front of their eyes. The younger of my sons is crying this morning, saying he couldn’t sleep at all last night. I believe him. And these are kids who did not lose their home, like so many, many others like them have.
This is emotionally difficult for the boys, but this is a good experience for them. They need to know what our neighbors are going through, and they need to have the experience of serving them in their hour of great need. A friend of mine in St. Francisville wrote on his Facebook page:
Here’s a shot of the group my friend and his grandson worked with: a Cajun Navy crew that saved old folks from a flooded nursing home. I don’t know the people in the photo, but Facebook indicates that one of these two men is named Ryan Evans:
So that’s one Ryan for you, doing what men, not punks, do — as well as one very young man, a boy named J.J., learning what it is to be a man. These things are happening everywhere here in Louisiana, right now. We have a whole generation of kids who are too young to remember Katrina, and who are having to go through this the first time. Those kids fortunate enough not to have lost their homes are learning from their parents and grandparents, and through hands-on experience, what their (our) debt of love is to our neighbors who did.
Here is the story of another American named Ryan — US Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte, 32, a privileged, gold medal-winning man-child who, in a night of drunken partying, abused the hospitality of his Brazilian hosts, grossly insulted them, lied about it in the international media and caused scandal to them, and who has finally been revealed for the lying punk that he is. He brought shame onto his nation, and owes the Brazilians a public apology, at the very least.
I wish they would send Lochte back to Brazil to face up to what he has done. Maybe the Brazilians will agree to stand down from extradition in exchange for Lochte spending the next month here in the subtropics, helping people muck their houses. Maybe it will teach him something. Sounds like this 32-year-old has a lot to learn about manhood from a 10-year-old Louisiana boy named J.J.
As for the news media, who have made Ryan Lochte and his spoiled-child act into days of headlines, well, I’m afraid they are beyond rehabilitation.