Scout says something here which I think is particularly important to highlight:

New Orleans is a major port for the US and South Louisiana is a major provider of natural gas, oil and refineries for that oil. The area has assumed great risk (coastal wetland destruction, Mississippi River Gulf Outlet) to provide goods and energy to the country. (for more go here) It all came crashing down on them with Katrina.


The people of New Orleans had assumed they were protected. They weren’t. Having assumed risks to meet the needs of the country they believed there would have been a recovery response equal to the destruction they have endured.

It’s a point I don’t think has been made often enough in the aftermath of Katrina, that when you strip away all the crap about whose taxes go where, it’s about the standard of our mutual dependence on one another.

So much of the post-Katrina coverage from faraway focused on how tragic it was for every pinhead who visited New Orleans once (and yes, I’m referring here to the president) to not have their vacation memories anymore, as though the reason places exist is to give tourists backdrops for their nostalgia. Few words were said about what we owed New Orleans, for what they’d done for us, in practical terms.

Much as I used to joke about throwing Texas back into the ocean (before I met Tena), when you get right down to it every place in America makes up America, and thus we all are responsible for all of it.


13 thoughts on “Responsibility

  1. I thought of these last couple of posts as I was reading the interview with David Simon in today’s Slate, talking about The Wire. In it he says his story is basically about this: in today’s world, human beings are worth less.
    “It’s the triumph of capitalism over human value. This country has embraced the idea that this is a viable domestic policy.”
    In the large sense, I think that’s one good explanation for the Katrina Gulf Coast catastrophe, but what hit me most is the idea of political capital . We’ve heard it straight from Bush’s mouth. And we’ve seen it time and again. This is what runs this administration, this is what they chase. It’s literally all they care about. It’s the only thing that’s caused them to invest their real energies. It’s why so much of their act is bells, whistles, mirrors. It’s easier to fake people into giving you power than it is to produce substantive results to earn power.
    And Katrina and the aftermath was never a politcal capital cash cow- they couldn’t manipulate it and exploit it the way they (thought) they could do with Iraq and the war on terror. it doesn’t have the same buttons and strings. for one thing, it’s right here in front of us- we saw exactly what happened, we knew people it happened to, it wasn’t some swarthy foreigners that attacked us, and it was our own government that took a disaster and made it into something even worse. we saw it all with our own eyes.
    And they gain nothing by doing what we would want them to do, which is fix things, help people, restore this city, this patch of humanity. It will cost them- real capital and political capital. Too much risk, it won’t play well in the media, and it will get them nothing in return, nothing in which they place any worth, anyway.
    There’s no percentage in it.

  2. Can’t really accept any responsibility for stuff like this. You want to take care of Democrats in N.O., I’m there. It was obvious 3 years ago Bush would ruin the country. Repubs put him in anyway. I only hope they enjoy their shit sandwich, because they fixed it.

  3. There’s a difference between blame for the cause and responsibility for helping in the aftermath.
    Nice attitude, btw.

  4. Virgotex, it’s fine with all the bolding. Sounds as though you’re really, really mad. I am, too.

  5. I have said this before, but I will say it again. A lot changed when Reagan was president. One of the things that changed drastically was our views about greed. Before Reagan it was not acceptable to be known to put greed above our fellow man – many did, of course, but they tried not to let it be known. Reagan told us that greed was good, that accumulating lots of money and things was good. What we lost in that transition was the knowledge that helping our fellow man was what was really good.
    Pre-Reagan no president could have remained in office if he ignored a national catastrophe such as Katrina. People would simply demand that the federal government immediately step in and begin the job of fixing New Orleans. Now, we all worry more about how to afford $4 a gallon gasoline prices than about how to safely rebuild New Orlean. We are leaderless today.

  6. Pre-Reagan, no president could ignore that 12,000 Americans had been diagnosed with a deadly virus, and that 6,000 had died from that same virus

  7. “every place in America makes up America, and thus we all are responsible for all of it.”
    What an outdated concept.
    Sinn Fein, NOLA siempre.

  8. yeah, if not for Tena, Holden, Amanda Marcotte, Twisty Faster, Norbizness, In the Pink Texas, BurntOrange Report,Pink Dome, Annatopia, FourLegs,rorschach,Robert M. Jeffers, Juanita aka Kiss my Big Blue Butt, Ruth(Dallas), and Athenae’s favorite writer, Jacob, plus a couple of thousand other folks, Texas would really suck.

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