Monday, January 23, 2006

Beginning with Katrina...

am sickened to my very core over what has happened to New Orleans and the implications of this for our country:1. That again, it is the poorest and most vulnerable people in our country who are the hardest hit and are forced to undergo unimaginable suffering. Who can erase these images of suffering in New Orleans from their heart's eye?2. That all levels of government failed, before, during, and after the storm and the flooding that resulted.3. That instead of concentrating on how to unite and pull together to solve the huge problems in our country that Hurricane Katrina has so glaringly exposed, we have indulged in "finger-pointing," self-righteous indignation, threats of violence to an American President from a senator, and on the part of the media, constant obfuscation of the truth. In short, that the jacobin cry of "heads must roll" has replaced common sense.Common sense says that this storm overpowered everyone.It holds up a horrifying mirror to ourselves—all of us.Hurricane Katrina exposed that we have not even begun to solve the killing marginalization of the poorest and most vulnerable in our country.It exposed that we have shortchanged our investment in the nation’s infrastructure to the point of murder, and, on the other hand, in our profit-driven zeal to rearrange nature in any way that suits us, we have wreaked havoc with the environment to such a point that nature’s revenge was all but inevitable.It exposed that our culture is driven by unfounded expectations of instant gratification, instant weight-loss, instant money, instant solutions—instant relief and evacuation, instant law and order in a city plunged into desperation.Can we realistically expect the federal government or any state or local government or combination thereof to make up for the accumulated effect of decades of neglect and failure to consider consequences—in the space of one week in the face of the country’s worse natural disaster this country.We must hope that enough of our citizens are not swept away by either apathy or by partisan pummeling, such that we do not, as a nation, look deeply into ourselves and at the society we have created and ask how we can take responsibility for our country's future.

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