Which brings me to the excellent essay 'Tribes' by Bill Whittle who sums it up better than I can:
Let’s not talk about Black and White tribes… I know too many pathetic, hateful, racists and more decent, capable and kind people of both colors for that to make any sense at all. Do you not? Do you not know corrupt, ignorant, violent people, both black and white, to cure you of this elementary idiocy? Have you not met and talked and laughed with people who were funny, decent, upright, honest and honorable of every shade so that the very idea of racial politics should just seem like a desperate and divisive and just plain evil tactic to hold power?
If such a thing is not self-evident to you, please get off my property. Right now. I should tell you I own a gun and I know how to use it. I assure you that the pleasure I would take in shooting you would be temporary, minimal, and deeply regretted later.
Now, for the rest of you, let’s get past Republican and Democrat, Red and Blue, too. Let’s talk about these two Tribes: Pink, the color of bunny ears, and Grey, the color of a mechanical pencil lead.
I live in both worlds. In entertainment, everything is Pink, the color of Angelyne’s Stingray – it’s exciting and dynamic and glamorous. I’m also a pilot, and I know honest-to-God rocket scientists, and combat flight crews and Special Ops guys -- stone-cold Grey, all of them -- and am proud and deeply honored to call them my friends.
The Pink Tribe is all about feeling good: feeling good about yourself! Sexually, emotionally, artistically – nothing is off limits, nothing is forbidden, convention is fossilized insanity and everybody gets to do their own thing without regard to consequences, reality, or natural law. We all have our own reality – one small personal reality is called “science,” say – and we Make Our Own Luck and we Visualize Good Things and There Are No Coincidences and Everything Happens for a Reason and You Can Be Whatever You Want to Be and we all have Special Psychic Powers and if something Bad should happen it’s because Someone Bad Made It Happen. A Spell, perhaps.
The Pink Tribe motto, in fact, is the ultimate Zen Koan, the sound of one hand clapping: EVERYBODY IS SPECIAL.
Then, in the other corner, there is the Grey Tribe – the grey of reinforced concrete. This is a Tribe where emotion is repressed because Emotion Clouds Judgment. This is the world of Quadratic Equations and Stress Risers and Loads Torsional, Compressive and Tensile, a place where Reality Can Ruin Your Best Day, the place where Murphy mercilessly picks off the Weak and the Incompetent, where the Speed Limit is 186,282.36 miles per second, where every bridge has a Failure Load and levees come in 50 year, 100 year and 1000 Year Flood Flavors.
The Grey Tribe motto is, near as I can tell, THINGS BREAK SOMETIMES AND PLEASE DON’T LET IT BE MY BRIDGE.
Much has been said regarding how much more massive an event Katrina is relative to lower Manhattan. But the fact remains that firemen went up the stairs when people were coming down, and one ordinary group of people on an ordinary flight on an ordinary day defeated the very best that the global terror network could put together.
And in Louisiana last week the governor cried and the mayor blamed everyone but himself, and half the country bought every single stinking Pink lie about global warming and missing National Guard units and blamed the sheepdogs while the wolves raped and pillaged and looted everything in sight.
Hundreds of New York firemen and policemen never came home, but New Orleans Police Chief P. Edwin Compass III said, of his men, “If I put you out on the street and made you get into gun battles all day with no place to urinate and no place to defecate, I don’t think you’d be too happy either… Our vehicles can’t get any gas. The water in the street is contaminated. My officers are walking around in wet shoes.”
Well, Chief, I’m sorry your men’s feet are wet, but getting their feet wet is part of their fucking job. New York’s Finest aren’t complaining about wet feet or places to pee because they died doing their jobs.
In New York, we had a governor who got every available resource on the ground as fast as it could get there, and in Louisiana we have a governor who...cried. Governor, your job is to not cry. Your job is to be strong. We have plenty of civilians crying. You want to cry, cry in the car on the way home like everybody else did four years ago. Crying Governors, race-baiting mayors and looting police do not a Finest Hour make.
In New Orleans we have a mayor who left some 400-500 buses sitting fueled and underwater in the Ray Nagin Memorial Motor Pool saying that evil white conservative America was selling out his people within 24 hours of the catastrophe, from a safe and dry and adequately toileted location, while four years ago we had a Mayor who ran to the site of the disaster so quickly it is a full-blown miracle he was not killed when a building collapsed literally on top of his magnificent, combed-over head.
Now, much has been made of the fact that Ray Nagin is an incompetent, race-baiting black man, and Rudy Giuliani, who was neither, is white. Also, feminists are upset that people dare attack Governor Blanco because she is incompetent, weak, indecisive, and also a woman. And no doubt there are salivating long-haired, short-cortexed idiots just waiting for this to be over so they can sail into the comments section and tell me what a racist and misogynist I am.
Well, here’s the news flash: Nagin isn’t incompetent because he’s black. He’s incompetent because he’s incompetent. Condoleeza Rice is black. Colin Powell is black. Ted Kennedy, a man well-acquainted with rising water crises is as white as they come. Kennedy is incompetent; Rice and Powell are two of the most competent people on the planet.
This is about tribes, all right: not black and white tribes, but rather a battle between the capable and the culpable.
My own preferences lean to those who run Grey - practical, logical, tough-minded people who believe that emotions compromise one's objectivity. My friendslist reflects that - a column of Greys broken by a few scattered Pinks. At its apex is, of course, interdictor in New Orleans, who has been dealting with every setback and frustration with grace and aplomb. Would that every herd be blessed with such a sheepdog in their midst. Off the top of my head, I would consider brkvw, dianma, ernunnos, foobiwan, adudeabides maradydd and phanatic to be fellow members of the Tribe of Grey and people I would want in my side, should tragedy befall in my corner of the world.
Focus: Who would you want in your corner when the jackels are circling and you are down to your last magazine of ammunition? And why?