Thursday, September 01, 2005

UNIMAGINABLE HORROR

As time goes on, the situation in New Orleans seems to degenerate further and further, getting much worse before it can get any better. The Big Easy is a truly a city stricken, placed in such dire straits that its current condition can be compared only to that of Manhattan after 9/11 and London after World War II. Even these powerful allusions, however, fail to capture the nightmarish situation that has descended on the metropolis. If ever there was a Hell on Earth, Louisiana would certainly be that place.
These are the places and these are the times that are romanticised, villified, or reflected upon by all human beings, for these are the places and these are the times that define what humanity is. These are the places and these are the times that evoke passion, despair, empathy, and heroism, as well as savagery and disgrace. New Orleans is what makes every movie, every poem, every story strike a chord in someone's heart, for it is mankind at its barest. This is what we are, and even in humdrum America, we are not immune from it.
What we know now serves to hearten as well as to distress. The city of New Orleans is 80% underwater, flooded in many places to a depth of fifteen feet. "Thousands," in the worlds of Senator Mary Landrieu (D, Louisiana) are dead, and still thousands more remain trapped within. Patients in New Orleans hospitals are dying because the electricity needed to power their ventilators and the water needed to keep them hydrated are simply not there.
Looting, meanwhile, has exacerbated an already awful situation and created even greater suffering. Attempts to evacuate the Superdome, where 20,000 refugees were stranded without food or water, have been delayed because shots from the crowd were hitting incoming rescue helicopters. To make matters worse, two massive fires are now blazing in New Orleans, one in the French Quarter and the other in the Superdome itself, were the tossed and torn masses have been forced out into the submerged streets to wait for busses that will take them to the Astrodome in Houston, Texas.
The African-American community of New Orleans has shown true audacity, exploiting the monumental tragedy for all it's worth and looting everywhere they can, carrying off big-screen televisions that won't turn on for want of power and jewelry that is effectively worthless as the city's most valuable commodity becomes food and water. Not only that, these delinquent thugs have gotten ahold of firearms and are now shooting at the very soldiers sent to protect them. They are a shameful display and insult decent Black people all across the United States with their barbarity.
These supposedly "oppressed" men and women have shown their neighbors (both black and white) inconceivable callousness by contributing to the chaos and terror in New Orleans. Their selfishness and rampant materialism are now taking lives, as police officers have been diverted from rescue operations to put down the looting.
Seldom have so many been victimised by so arrogant, careless, and hypocritical a segment of society as have the people of New Orleans been victimised by these hordes. The governor of Louisiana, furious, is giving her National Guardsmen authorisation to use, "any means necessary" to restore law and order, and well she should.
At the same time, there are rays of sunshine, like the story of a person who stole a school bus ("The Rogue School Bus"), picked up stranded refugees throughout the city and then drove to the Astrodome independent of authorities. What a kindhearted, good individual.
May God help them all.

1 Comments:

Blogger RightDemocrat said...

The liberal blog Next Hurrah http://www.thenexthurrah.typepad.com/ makes some excellent points on the need for a safety net and a role by government to solve social problems in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Tax cuts for the rich has led to many harmful consequences including our ability to be properly prepared for hurricanes and respond to the public health crisis that will likely develop in New Orleans in the aftermath. As a social conservative, I remain a Democrat because of my views on economic issues. I have never been able to go along with Republican "trickle down economics." A human tragedy on the scale of Hurricane Katrina reminds us that sometimes activist goverment is the only solution. Private charities do a great job but they cannot handle a tragedy of the magnitude alone. Here are some excerpts from the Next Hurrah column.

"We’ve been writing here over the last few days about how this is an unprecedented catastrophe. There are over a million people displaced right now, and many—probably the majority—will be homeless for a long time. They won’t have jobs. They’re separated from their neighbors, and maybe their family. They’ve lost their vehicles. They’ve lost most or all of their belongings. They’re going to go broke."

"And a voucher for clothes for each of them from the Red Cross is not going to be enough to get them—and our country—back on their feet. At no time since World War II and its immediate aftermath has there been such a obvious need for widespread and robust action by the federal government. Over a million people are afraid, and they are in need of food, shelter, clothing, medical care, transportation and jobs. And most of all, they are in need of hope. Tax cuts won’t provide them hope. What they need is a promise to help them rebuild their communities, and their lives. And they need to know that promise is backed up by the full commitment of the American people, and will be delivered with all the power, efficiency, skill, legitimacy and accountability of the federal government." That was commentary from the Next Hurrah blog which reminds of the hallowness of the anti-government rhetoric we have been hearing from Republicans for so many years.

The Gulf Coast Mississippi district of Congressman Gene Taylor (one of the Right Democrat's favorite members of Congress) was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. Mississipp's Clarion-Ledger newspaper reports that U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor, D-Miss., lost his Bay St. Louis home in the storm. Taylor will be opening up his office to provide assistance to storm victims. "Margaret and I would like to send our condolences to those who have lost their loved ones as a result of Hurricane Katrina. You are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time," he said in a news release. "Like many of my friends and neighbors throughout south Mississippi, I have lost my home. Fortunately, my family is safe and unharmed Now, we face the task of rebuilding south Mississippi. My staff and I are working to re-establish offices so that we can provide assistance for storm recovery efforts."

Congressman Taylor will be updating his website with hurricane recovery information at http://www.house.gov/genetaylor/

5:03 PM  

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