I haven’t taken a swing through Backslider’s place in quite a while, and damn, I really need to not forget to read over there. Because while his whole post on Katrina and its aftermath is worth a read with a vengeance, one part in particular struck me because I’ve been trying to come up with a way to get this across for months:
They way I look at it, the federal government (and state and local, for that matter) has one job and one job only: make sure things run smoothly. When something tries to stir up the pot, be it a terrorist attack, turbulent economy or natural disaster, the whole reason we pay taxes is so that when something overwhelms us as individuals, we have a group to come in a straighten shit out. Katrina was definitely that; Blanco and Nagin (who didn’t become a Democrat until he ran for mayor, mind) were in over their heads, and anyone with half a lick of sense knew that. Katrina wasn’t a surprise, either generally (as in a big goddamn hurricane coming into wipe out the Big Easy) or specifically (the National Weather Service was about the only damn folks who had their shit together this whole time). There’s absolutely no reason – apart from incompetency and sheer apathy from the Powers That Be – that the complete clusterfuck we saw the past week should’ve happened. Common sense tells us that loss of life and destruction of property was unavoidable, but what we’ve seen is total bullshit in a country as prosperous and powerful as ours. I don’t have to tell you stories, you’ve already heard ’em.
And that’s exactly it, really. To for the umpteenth time on this blog paraphrase President Jed Bartlet, there are times when we simply have to be one country. There are times when we do need government as a mechanism to transcend regional differences and set national priorities. We need government as a place where we can come together, and every attempt by small-gov conservatroids to tell us that’s what business is for, and every attempt by Dobson et al to tell us the church is big enough to get everybody inside, just reinforces that view in my mind.