On Obama, the oil spill, and oysters

27 05 2010


The other day, my grandma and I had a very real, very serious conversation about the oil spill in the Gulf. It started with her completely distressed, completely honest complaint that she’s not sure what she’ll be cooking in her kitchen soon enough.

I know this sounds crazy and some may think it’s a bit incensitive, but you have to understand how seafood is just as much a part of Louisiana culture, New Orleans culture, as Mardi Gras, voodoo, and the Saints. Hell – you can’t make gumbo without at least some shrimp! So when my 74 year old grandmother says she doesn’t know what she’s going to cook, she’s not exaggerating or being facetious – she’s being honest. In fact, I’m not sure if I can honestly say that my grandmother has more than 5 dishes in her repetoire that don’t involve some kind of seafood – everything from shrimp, crabs, crawfish, scallops, oysters, mussels, and any other seafood you could possibly think of – she cooks it, consistently.

You see, we’re used to an abundance of that kind of thing down there. We like to do things in excess and we like our seafood big and from the gulf of Mexico. The idea of importing seafood is, well it’s, damnit – it’s blasphemous! Import! Seafood! What?!?! The very idea… Ugh.

But the thing is, it’s something that people at home are starting to have to come to grips with as a sad reality now. And this goes far beyond my grandmother’s kitchen. It extends to those famed restaurants in New Orleans and beyond who are just starting to sort of get back on their feet after Katrina, Wilma, Rita, and Ike. You think that the mom and pop place on the corner that sells footlong poboys for $5 can afford to import their seafood? Doubtful.

And what’s Louisiana without its crawfish boils? I mean, can you imagine importing crawfish from places that call it (ugh) crayfish and deliver these small imitators of the real thing. Its like ordering lobster at a restaurant and getting the lobster tail. Sure it’s still lobster, but really – c’mon, it’s not the same thing.

So okay, you’re not concerned about my grandma or the restaurants or the crawfish boil lovers like me, well what about the fishermen who had a hard enough time resuming their living after the last few hurricane seasons hit them. Now they have to deal with this shit, too?! And this is far more than LA getting hit by this – it’s the entire Gulf region. Let’s not even get into the environmental effects this is having on the region and how it only serves to make them that much more susceptible to devastating hurricanes – right before hurricane season, of course.

Am I painting enough of a picture for you? What about the animals that are literally dying everyday because of this royal fuck-up by BP? The scope of this disaster is still yet to be absorbed, even as we learn more of the damaging effects it will have everyday… And still a month later, it seems we are no closer to solving the problem.

Now listen, I’m no novice with this political thing. I understand how laws and bureaucratic policies work… If you don’t believe me, ask Georgetown to verify my MA degree in it. But the fact remains that the way this is all being handled doesn’t leave a good taste in my mouth. Yes, BP is responsible. And yes, they are the best available option in fixing the leak and the effects of it… But you know what? Obama’s got to do something. Because right now, this supporter is starting to look at him a bit sideways.

Don’t get me wrong, I know he’s no saint. And I also realize he’s got a lot of things on his plate right now. He was never ordained as far as I’m concerned. He’s a politician. But he’s also my president. And just like I wanted Bush to do more after 9/11 and Katrina, and I wanted Clinton to do more in Rwanda, President Obama’s got to do something here.

I understand he’s going down there on Friday. Let’s hope it’s not too late.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: