Watching the Katrina devastation in the media I thought, “our country could sure use a superhero about now.” Someone with X-ray vision to find people trapped in their homes, someone with supersonic speed to round up the looters before they caused any more trouble and someone with incredible strength to single-handedly repair the levee system.
The era of the lone superhero, “Superman”, “James Bond”, etc. is over. Heroic workers, everyday citizens, painstakingly waded through filthy, smelly water to find people who were too old, too sick, or too poor to evacuate. Roy H. Williams, the “Wizard of Ads“, points out that we are beginning a 40-year phase of civilization that he calls ‘civic-oriented.’ In a civic phase, people communicate spontaneously and organize into ad hoc teams to get the job done. We’re seeing this with the Katrina Response. People are spontaneously forming groups to find shelter for the evacuees, rescue pets, and tend to the cleanup. The civic phase counterbalances the 40-year idealistic phase that ended in 2003. As idealists, we “visualized world peace”, experienced “the ‘me’ generation” and, in general, preferred fantasy (Gilligan’s Island) over gritty reality (Survivor).
I’m always looking for the silver lining. What good has come from the Katrina disaster? I’m encouraged by the outpouring of generosity that the world has shown these devastated Gulf States, from foreign countries gifting over 1 billion dollars to Texas residents unselfishly hosting evacuees. I’m proud of the heroic efforts of Houston and Dallas medical teams, who untiringly cared for people with an abundance of injuries and chronic conditions and a scarcity of insurance cards, prescriptions, and cash. I’m also in awe of the Katrina survivors, whose entire lives have been turned upside down. Many are deeply grateful and appreciative of the relief workers’ efforts at a time when it would be easy to complain and blame.
The story of Katrina is not one of a heroic figure saving the day; it’s about ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things. This story features capeless superheroes — they’re busy tending to the sick, sheltering the homeless, and rebuilding the remains of destroyed cities. It’s about the triumph of the human spirit to overcome any and all losses and a recognition that Grace and Blessings surround each and every one of us.
About Tony Cecala
Tony is a business strategist. He publishes the Holistic Networker and produces the Wellness Expo. In his spare time he reads about technology and the mind.