It was clear to everyone who looked at the situation that if no provision were made, the poor of New Orleans would suffer grievously in a major hurricane. This was said repeatedly, for years. Nothing was done. I think this inaction is symptomatic of a larger pattern.
America is a nation that has largely stopped really believing its myths. The "Great Society" to be created by winning a "War on Poverty," the vision of another generation of leaders, now seems an incomprehensible failure. One can argue methods, by my point is that now we can hardly imagine anyone even thinking they could actually realize such a ‘big idea.’ The now-pervasive cynicism and complacency mean that problems that could and should be solved are ignored. The result is obvious with Katrina, but there are thousands of individual-scale disasters in the U.S. every day, disasters of crime, poverty, domestic violence, economic decline, dysfunctional schools, and breakdowns of medical and other systems. These disasters are hidden and ignored, the same way the vulnerability of New Orleans' poor to flooding was ignored.
America cannot be sustained, as America, by the achievements of a relatively small stratum of technical/managerial elites, while ever-larger swaths of the population become ever-more marginalized and underserved. We need a vision of rebuilding the nation for all our citizens. Perhaps we can find it in the way we rebuild the region destroyed by a hurricane.
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Alert reader Mike Juergens writes in Jerry Pournelle's Current Chaos Manor Mail
Posted by Brian Dunbar at 3:17 PM