Reasonably Ascertainable Reality

Thoughts and musings on current events and other random occurrences.

Location: South Jersey, United States

Monday, September 05, 2005


I've been hesitant to post on the hurricane and its aftermath. It is a monumental tragedy and there is blame enough to go around for the response, the rheotoric, the funding, the levees...everything. But I'll share a couple of thoughts.

I don't buy the race angle. My theory is that it is more a 'class' angle. These people, those that didn't evacuate, were predominantly poor and that is not an insignificant fact. However, if I was black, and I watched CNN, and saw all of the black faces on that t.v., suffering, better believe that after day 6, I'd start thinking to myself 'what the hell is going on here?". I was thinking it Friday and I'm white. As I said, I don't buy the race angle, and I don't think its a conspiracy, however, I do believe that the emotion is an understandable one by the black community--to a point.

Related: Andrew Sullivan recieved an email I think that sums it up nicely. I don't share the writers political affiliation, but I share his viewpoint. This kind of infrastructure failure, this kind of monumental lack of foresight, wasn't supposed to happen anymore. Read the whole thing.

Money quote:

We have known that this sort of disaster could occur for a century. Hell, the tour bus driver told me about it on the plantation tour. This means that we have been able to envision the stark reality of this occurring for a week-the newspapers all said the storm would hit New Orleans last Thursday.A week to get buses? A week to get fishing boats? Trucks? This is the United States!

I read someone who said, "All the people who weren't bedridden, or had money, or had cars left. The people that are left had none of those things."There are people tonight who are going to sleep on overpasses for the fourth straight night. There are prisoners who will do the same. There are people dying at a convention center because no one will tell them that no one is coming for them, and the National Guard is protecting the kitchens. There are police officers who are turning in their badges because they've lost everything, have no guidance, and don't want to be shot by a looter.

There are people tonight inside a concrete domed stadium with holes in the roof and no air conditioning who were told the buses are coming today, and they might, or they might not. There is no food. There is no water. There are bodies floating through the neighborhoods.


Some people say that you can't hold the President responsible for this. Oh, yes you can. Because when he looked over at John Ashcroft after the jets hit the towers and said, "I want you to make sure this never happens again," it was not meant to be specific to "no more planes hitting large buildings on the East Coast, right, boss." It was meant that no American should have to run for his life through an American city. While Americans may perish in a senseless, unforeseen disaster, we'd save the ones we could.

And the Cabinet appointees were mushwits and he could barely speak a complete sentence and we're sending people overseas for God knows how long to help people who are indifferent at worst and hostile at best, but they were going to protect us. In 2004, that's all a lot of us needed. Well right now, it's obvious that they can't.

Ask yourself this: What if Al-Qaeda blew up the levees instead of the hurricane? Would the response have been any different?No. It wouldn't. That city flooded in a day. And if it were Las Vegas, I would have been in some operations center watching people try to decide who gets to starve to death and who gets to get on a bus to Los Angeles or Phoenix. And there would be no certainty that I'd be on that bus in time to protect my wife and kids.But one thing sure would have been different.They wouldn't have had a whole week to sort it out and know what's coming.

They were supposed to KNOW this already. It will have been FOUR YEARS next weekend since someone probably said, "Hey, what if..."And for that, the whole stack of them should be fired.I've had it. I'm done. And if the other bunch of assholes can't figure out that what's important is that babies don't starve to death here (and I'm not talking some metaphorical goo-goo thing with school lunches and welfare, but real, actual starving) and we get people out of harm's way, we'll get rid of them too. And so on.

Because this is about leadership, not about bitching on CNN how no one's in charge, or listening to Peggy Noonan furrow her brow at the Governor's performance, or bragging that we've sent in one National Guardsman for every 200 people, or actually having the audacity to say that "we had no idea the levees would break."

Today, I saw my country favorably compared to Indonesia and Thailand, (always our traditional benchmarks of infrastructural success) while the elderly die of thirst in the street. We sneered at France when this happened during a heat wave.

No more."


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I disagree with you that rescue efforts weren't a "race" issue.
I agree with you that it was a "class" issue though.
The question is, statistically, who's in what class?

I think the true answer to that is that anyone not of the "privaliged" class is in the wrong class. In that case, race would not have been an issue. The wealthy few would have gladly let us all drown.

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