September 06, 2005

Really Simply Now

As horrifying as last week was, a vicious wake up call reminding us just how real a disaster can be, this week has smashed in with an even harsher realization.

Really simply now:

They turned New Orleans into a prison.

Step back, breathe, think about it for a second. Breathe. FEMA shuts everyone out. The National Guard prevents those left inside from leaving. The army comes in guns alight. The Red Cross isn't even allowed inside.

They turned New Orleans into a prison.

Maybe that's what Barbara Bush was talking about today when she claimed that "this is working very well for them.", with the "this" meaning being stuck in a refugee camp and the "them" being refugees of America's worst natural disaster in a 100 years. Yeah things are working out very well, they may be refugees, their homes may have been washed away, but at least they aren't being held in that half submerged prison that once was New Orleans.

They turned New Orleans into a prison.

I'm an American, I love my country. I may not agree with every action it takes, but I do love my country and a good part of what it stands for. I still do, but a little part of me froze ice cold last week, and little more so this week. Why? Because the country I saw, the actions we all witnessed, they had nothing to do with the country I love, the country I believe in, or the country I want to live in. Something is deeply wrong in America today, it needs to change at the top and it needs to change at the bottom. Really simply now: New Orleans is not the exception, it is the reality that could strike any part of America, the storm that blew back the facade on the foulest aspects of our society.

And they turned it into a prison.

Posted by Abe at September 6, 2005 01:17 AM


who's this "they" you are referring to? don't you mean "we"? surely all americans are responsible for helping create a society where this barbarity can occur?

as you say, american society needs to change at the bottom. i'm not holding my breath that it'll change at the top...



The next time you whip up a mantra, you may want to clarify who "they" are. Otherwise I can only assume that you mean everyone who doesn't already share your sociopolitical views...which, ironically, makes you the xenophobic, close-minded social conservative you accuse Bush et. al. of being.

The problems in New Orleans came from many, mostly local, mostly uncoordinated efforts. There was no monolithic "THEY" creating a prison. A lot of poor small decisions combined to create one big bad situation.

I can appreciate any indignity you may have which stems from actual compassion...but using the event as a rallying point for some vaguely worded political dissatisfaction makes you no better than the other opportunists looting the city for what they can take from it.