Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Next Month...

I am both greatly heartened and disheartened by the outpouring of support for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. On the positive side, it’s wonderful to see people of all races, all creeds, all economic levels and of differing sexual orientations putting aside these differences to pull together as one. It makes me want to think that our society could be this way ALL the time.

But that thought immediately makes me feel disheartened. This pulling together is caused by an EX-ternal circumstance. It represents a fleeting exception, not the norm. What kind of reception will many of these people receive once they no longer wear the label of “Katrina Survivor”?

The very people being embraced in warmth and sympathy today will, most likely, be the very same people others no longer see next week, next month or next year. The outpouring of love will quickly turn to aggravation and contempt. And the people rescued from New Orleans’ slums and rundown neighborhoods will soon find themselves poked into the same kinds of neighborhoods in their new communities.

White people who today work in shelter’s predominantly housing black people will return to their white neighborhoods. As the glow of the helping spirit wanes, they will become suspicious of any black person who shows up on their street. Police will continue to pull over black drives for no other reason than driving while black.

This is the real tragedy inherent in calamity. For a few ephemeral moments, people cast aside the often trivial differences that divide people. Fueled by the understanding that “there but for fortune go you or I”, we jump in to lend a hand to complete strangers. But the external impetus always fades away and we return to the mundane everyday isolationism of before.


  1. There is a lot to be learned from this. Right at the start the Gov of LA should have put all state military on reserve before the storm even got there. Supplies and all vehicles could have been moved to safe places. All city buses, city vehicles such as vans, cars, and stationwagons along with all the school buses should have been commandeered. The airport could have been shut down and all aircraft made ready for transport. A request for federal financial aid to reimburse these entities could have been put in before the storm even got there. Even railroad cars and tractor trailor rigs could have been commandeered. It would not have been elegant transport, but it could have been put in place as soon as it was evident a storm was coming.

  2. There is a great deal of criticism of the administration's response--or lack thereof--to the tragedy in the Gulf South. This is criticism that is deserved for this administration, but LA, MS and AL are only 3 recent examples of what we all must admit--there is no domestic agenda. There is really nothing to be proud of in the response to the hurricane. Sure we are sending diapers and peanut butter when we go to the local wal-mart, but is there now or will there ever be an attempt to address the true underlying problem: I think not. A couple of the old standbys for the left are back with this most recent problem: race and poverty. Bush has played his fiddle while New Orleans sank!
    The Democractic response is even more disturbing. There hasn't been one! The problems at the core here are issues that the Dems should be strongest on. Additionally, what better way--and I hate to admit it--than to get some face time and make inroads into the South than to be out there bitching about what is going on. Well, as usual, the spineless democrats are doing nothing--literally nothing at all.
    Folks, I live in KS. We have only 10 democrats in the Senate of our legislature. (For all you left and right coasters,it has not always been so; KS was at one time a progressive/populist state.) These spineless weinies do nothing. They have nothing to lose, as there are only 10. And, they do nothing. This is a missed opportunity. The Dems are caving like they did with Bush v. Gore. Where are the fighters nowadays? Throw flames at the fire. Screw bipartisan politics. Lets seize on the issues and say how we are different. That is the onle way things will get better and change. That is only way we can say these problems can be avoided. By the way lets call for congressional hearings on where the FEMA and Homeland Security dollars are going. I suspect Halliburton.

    A Central Eastern KS Progressive--cause I'm afraid to say leftist

    GO Pitt--FHSU 7 PSU 58, back on track

  3. Geez, you remind me of a black cloud in search of a silver lining.


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