September 3, 2005
-- by Dave Johnson
Shit happens. It can happen where YOU live.
I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. We're due for a major earthquake. Los Angeles is also due for a major quake. (I was in downtown Santa Cruz when the 1989 earthquake struck.)
Maybe you live where tornadoes can strike. Maybe a massive forest fire can engulf your town. Maybe the avian flu, currently killing half of those infected will mutate into a form that can pass from person to person like a cold. Maybe terrorists will blow up a nuclear or chemical plant upwind from your city.
At one point Friday, the evacuation was interrupted briefly when school buses pulled up so some 700 guests and employees from the Hyatt Hotel could move to the head of the evacuation line — much to the amazement of those who had been crammed in the Superdome since last Sunday. ... The National Guard blocked him as other guardsmen helped the well-dressed guests with their luggage.THIS is the conservative vision for government. THIS is "personal responsibility." If you have money you are moved to the front of the line. If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time you don't even get food or water.
The 700 had been trapped in the hotel, near the Superdome, but conditions were considerably cleaner, even without running water, than the unsanitary crush inside the dome.
THIS is the message of the "conservative" response to Katrina: you are on your own.
YOUR city or state is next. You're next. Think about what kind of government you want to have in place when shit happens. Do you want one in which we take care of each other, or one where we are all on our own?
(Cross-posted as a Kos diary.)
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It needs to be said loud and clear that it doesn't matter whether you're rich or poor, black or white, young or old, fundie, neoconservative, or liberal, we're all in the same boat. It isn't going to matter whether it's a natural disaster or a terrorist attack. This time there was enough warning to order that 'mandatory evacuation' which meant only that those who had the means to do it could get out of New Orleans. Next time that will probably not be the case. There may not be any advance warning. The rich will be stuck with the catastrophe right along with the rest of us. That's what happened in the World Trade Center. The rich Republican bankers and traders died right along with the dishwashers and janitors. Remember that the Feds didn't show up for that one, either. Couldn't even manage to scramble a few fighter planes.
How's your city doing in terms of keeping its infrastructure up to par? I know that NYC has several serious problems that are not being taken care of. Bridges and tunnels, an antiquated subway system, above all a water supply system on the edge of catastrophe while they diddle around taking forever to finish a third water tunnel while the original tunnels, over 100 years old, leak like sieves and threaten to collapse. It's a pretty safe bet that every city, large or small, in this country has serious infrastructure problems that you aren't being told about.
How close do you live to an ancient nuclear facility that's no longer safe? Chemical plants? Refineries? Any evacuation plan that might actually work? The failure of the levees in New Orleans had been predicted for years, and the Bush administration refused the Corps of Engineers the funds to repair them, much less improve them. Now it has the gall to claim it had no idea the levees could fail. No matter what your political ideology, you'd be wise to look into this carefully and find out what the dangers you're not being told about really are. Even if you totally believe in shifting for yourself. If you do believe that, then find out now what's most likely to happen and take steps to prevent it. Because no matter what happens, you're not gonna get any help, and it won't matter whether it's a natural disaster or a terrorist attack.
Actually, we're not all in the same boat, and the New Orleans disaster proves it.
I've always wondered how right-wingers think they will escape the coming reckonings (climatological, economic, political). It seemed that they were crazy to believe that their real and metaphorical gated communities would save them from the enormous disasters their policies will inevitably create. But now I see. They think it will work out just like in New Orleans -- they'll grab they're credit cards, their best jewelry, maybe a dog or two, and just scoot out in the SUV. They'll lose one of their homes, maybe two, but alight comfortably somewhere. Let's try Tuscany, honey.
I just looked at the comments to the Kos cross-posting. It's very sad. Although everyone seems to agree with Dave's take, starkly, nearly everyone also seems to believe the only solution is a shotgun and a decent supply of potable water. Few, if any, advocate political change. The choice they see is a shotgun versus floating dead in the muck. Of course, there is hardly a choice there at all. The shutgun leads inevitably to the corpse -- yours. The only real choice is counterrevolution, but that is simply off the table. The right-wing has won. Totally.
The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.
We MUST disenthrall ourselves.
A friend said to me, "The Republicans will help you if you can do something for them." This leadership has had its hand out from the beginning. Contribute to the Party, be a part of this contributing class, these sponsors, and you need never worry. People who hang on from paycheck to paycheck, with no margin for error, people who can't afford to get out of town. don't even show up on Republican radar. These are folks who never vote for the GOP. They never will vote for the GOP. No one should be surprised by Bush's institutional neglect for poor people throughout this land.
Hastert's gross comment about bulldozing New Orleans seems to reinforce this view; since it is to the advantage these class warriors to disposses their political opponents. Norquist has said that soon the opposition won't be able to eat. Economic disadvantage becomes the yardstick by which to measure those who are out of power..
Posted by: Copeland at September 3, 2005 3:37 PM
That's what they've always meant by "personal responsibility." They just market a different perception and it works far more often than it should in a supposedly just society.
Posted by: publicdomainprogress at September 3, 2005 5:07 PM
Two things about the comments on Daily Kos are really scary. The first, about buying a shotgun, is NOT the answer to "You're on your own." Obviously, a life jacket would be a lot more help in a flood than a shotgun that doesn't even float. The correct answer is to build a community, but when conditions are dire enough there's no substitute for the kind of help only the government is equipped to provide, and the government is supposed to be the ultimate strength of the community. We have a right to demand that of this government and not let ourselves be forced back into cave clutching our shotguns.
The second is Hastert's remark about not rebuilding New Orleans. That's not possible. Cities develop where they do for a reason. This is one of this country's most important and strategic ports. The goods manufactured and grown in the Heartland are shipped down the Mississippi and out from New Orleans to the rest of the country and the world. We're quickly going to see the economic impact of not being able to do that.
About the Kos diary -- how can a diary get that many comments and so few recommendations?
Oh, it got recommendations. Go back to the Stone Age, buy a gun and lots of ammunition, hole up in the nearest cave.
I don't think the truth has entirely sunk in yet. We've lost an entire major American city. That's never happened to us before, not even during the world's most horrific wars. And we've certainly never had to face the reality that our own government is willing to let the inhabitants of an entire city die of starvation and dehydration. After all the screaming about that poor brain dead woman whose feeding tube was removed who'd have believed they were this brutal? Anybody see any contradiction in our national values?
And the good news just keeps on coming! Bush now gets to appoint a second Supreme Court justice and a new chief justice. Evil is loose in the land. Bush really is the AntiChrist.
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