I don’t think many of you grasp what’s going on in New Orleans right now. To give you an idea, here is something that was written in Time magazine “pre-Katrina”:
If a flood of Biblical proportions were to lay waste to New Orleans, Joe Suhayda has a good idea how it would happen. A Category 5 hurricane would come barreling out of the Gulf of Mexico. It would cause Lake Pontchartrain, north of New Orleans, to overflow, pouring down millions of gallons of water on the city. Then things would really get ugly. Evacuation routes would be blocked. Buildings would collapse. Chemicals and hazardous waste would dissolve, turning the floodwaters into a lethal soup. In the end, what was left of the city might not be worth saving. “There’s concern it would essentially destroy New Orleans,” says Suhayda.
It’s a good thing that we have a President that is on top of the disaster efforts. Here’s what he did while New Orleans was getting utterly destroyed. I mean, if he can run a war from his ranch, what’s playing the guitar while a million people lose their homes? I know there is nothing he can do to prevent the ongoing destruction, but he could at least wipe that stupid smirk off his face and pretend he cares.
Is anyone watching CNN? There are people dying in the Superdome right now (mostly poor, black people), a place the government told everyone to gather for food, shelter, and water. You think other black people in major cities are not watching? If I was disenfranchised and saw the outrageous way my people were being treated, I would get pretty angry.
Hurricanes come in two waves. First comes the rainstorm, and then comes what the historian John Barry calls the “human storm” – the recriminations, the political conflict and the battle over compensation. Floods wash away the surface of society, the settled way things have been done. They expose the underlying power structures, the injustices, the patterns of corruption and the unacknowledged inequalities. When you look back over the meteorological turbulence in this nation’s history, it’s striking how often political turbulence followed.
The political disturbances are still to come.
Here’s something I’m sending to my Congressional representatives, which I’m sure some intern will promptly trash:
Four years after 9/11, when billions of dollars were spent on homeland security preparing us for terrorist attacks, I am currently watching New Orleans residents suffering on my television set three days after the hurricane passed, with no relief in sight. It seems that news crews have no trouble getting into these areas, but it is hard to see any sort of strong government presence. Where is the food and water drop-offs? Why isn’t there more coordination between state and federal agencies? I can’t help but think that if the evacuees were rich and white, they’d be helped by now. The government has failed these people, and I hope those in charge are held accountable for this gross incompetency.