A Similar Streak
Friday. Maybe I'm wrong about the ability of the American people to stomach what we're seeing in New Orleans. Maybe something will click in the collective consciousness and we'll all notice how much has gone wrong with the way our government works, how many administrations, both Republican and Democrat, have sold their souls to private rather than public interests.
They built the levees around New Orleans to weather a category three hurricane with the idea that stronger than category three hurricanes only happen every three hundred or so years and when they appear, as one did Monday, they order the city evacuated and, although property is lost, lives are saved and everyone lives happily ever after three hundred years at a crack. Except nobody seemed to notice that twenty percent of the population didn't own a car, didn't have the wherewithal to pack their kids and flee the city, that one hundred or so thousand lives would be at risk because there was no mechanism in place to save them.
They sold off the wetlands for development, the wetlands that had always protected New Orleans from flood; they ducked out on environmental standards to cater to the petroleum industry (there are things loose in that standing water now you don't want to think about); they straightened the Mississippi river against the knowledge it would place New Orleans in greater danger because catering to private interests was where the money is and preparing for hurricanes, after all, doesn't pay the rent. Private versus public interest: who is that hires all those lobbyists? The folks on the block?
Maybe this will make for a change, maybe the people of not only New Orleans (primarily black and poor) and the people who lived (and died) along the coast (primarily white and doing well) will combine politically as they have in the past to throw the bastards out. A not so subtle revolution that will, with time, sink back into somnambulance - the old get rich on the people's backs boys are always watching for their chance - but for a while, maybe, for a decade or so, create government that serves a greater good, that doesn't lie and cheat.
You've been listening to that public radio crap.
Actually it was public television, the two pundits on the Friday night News Hour, one conservative, one liberal, agreed this was a watershed moment that would lead to a political revolution in New Orleans, maybe even in Washington itself. Which makes them optimists, poor idiots, and reveals in me (heaven help us, could it be??!) a similar streak.