Monday, August 28, 2006

We were Americans

That's something you could say during our response to Katrina. When I say "our" I don't mean our government's non-response, but rather the response of all the decent big-hearted Americans who sent money, and volunteered, and opened their homes to other people in need. And all those good people trapped in horrible circumstances who did their best and helped their brothers and sisters. Like September 11th, it was a grand moment of ordinary people rising to the occasion and performing heroic deeds in the face of tragedy. I never want to forget that.

This is how a good part of New Orleans looked back at the beginning of April 2006. This is a house a couple of blocks from where the Industrial Canal levee broke in the lower 9th Ward.

My anger meter just pegged at 11 so I shut off the television. The spectacle of watching two pompous blowhard f*cks like Pat Buchanan and Al Sharpton on MSNBC arguing over whether the levees were dynamited to kill black people was too much. CSPAN was running interviews with people in St Bernard Parish, filmed on 8/16/06. Da Parish looked about the same as it did when we were there in March, depressingly enough. It looked like they'd gotten control of the trash levees, (trash levees was how everyone down there referred to the huge piles of debris next to all the gutted houses) and there were more vacant lots where houses had been demolished and hauled away, at least.

I admit my liberal partisan bloodlust runs pretty high lately. Even so, I sometimes find the postings on Daily Kos to be a bit much. But today, I found this post by a blogger named DarkSyde and I really appreciated it. I'll leave y'all with this excerpt:

I predict the anniversary of the worst natural disaster in decades will be quickly pre-empted by stirring speeches sung over the graves of 9-11 by meat puppets of the right clothed in designer suits and wearing somber, rehearsed expressions for the multitude of cameras. They will be read in carefully scripted, grave tones, in front of bronze statues of soldiers sacrificed and granite monuments to the dead of wars past, and they will be read mostly by those who never choked down a stale MRE in the desert heat or freezing cold.

I imagine in the not too distant future, Ph.D. dissertations and classes in political science will be devoted to analyzing how this crop of neocon miscreants lurched clumsily from one monstrous failure after another, and still held solidly onto a third of the electorate. Maybe the academics will figure it out. Part of me hopes someone will. For now, as one who has lived it, I find the phenomenon incomprehensible. When a co-worker defends Bush or Iraq or the handling of Katrina, I have to consciously try not to stare in open contempt, jaws agape, as a half dozen possible explanations for why they could be so sadly misled and yet so confident, wrestle with one another in the small part of my brain that insists on finding order in chaos.

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