Right now Marcy and I are listening to Naomi Klein talk about how the Left was ready for The Great Depression and responded with the New Deal, while we’re not prepared with a progressive response to the economic crisis that seems to be looming.
At EschaCon last weekend, it was said (by whom exactly, I cannot recall right now) that we really needed to come up with a large public works project of some sort to give jobs to the nation during the Depression coming at us like an out-of-control Pinto bent on being ‘splodey. And it tweaked me a little, hearing it, because it’s not like there’s notplenty of stuff, as needs doing, that we don’t have to look very far to find:
1) There are currently an estimated 1 out of every 25 people in this city that are homeless. Indiscriminate city demolitions of private homes people are trying to gut and rebuild, coupled with the federally-sanctioned demolition of the city’s housing projects (for which there are NO concrete plans and contracts for their replacement), and now a June 1 deadline for all residents of formaldehyde-leeching FEMA trailers to relocate themselves will only increase the numbers of homeless people here. Mr Blakely has stayed very, very far from this crisis, something that I would think any urban planner would want to sink his teeth into. Instead of rising to the challenge, Mr Blakely chooses to hide in a pile of red tape.
3) Economically, New Orleans is the same as it ever was. Tourism dollars rule. Any attempts to get city government to attract other types of businesses here – perhaps software development, or sophisticated laboratories devoted to reclaiming wetlands, or even proper civil engineering – have not been observed amid the other serious problems the recovery process of New Orleans faces. Mr Blakely has not chimed in with any other suggestions in this area other than the ones he initially came here preaching. There are no cranes in the city’s skyline. Any improvements that have been made here have been done by the city’s residents themselves, by groups of volunteers who are thankfully taking vacation time out to help in any way they can, or by great organizations such as Kaboom!, which enlists bands of volunteers to erect a playground in a day. I want Mr Blakely to come to more of these events and see what kind of cooperation can exist between all races and creeds in the rebuilding effort – but he instead wants to take bicycle tours of this city and preach patience on our part while he does little.
On a very basic level, as Democrats, we need to keep an eye on what needs to get done while Bush and Co. are playing toy soldiers overseas, and the top officials of our party are having a competition to see who can be the biggest moronic tool. And the fucking ball to keep our eye on when it comes to “top of the priority list for rebuilding of any sort and scale in America” is the neglected, insulted, patronized and forgotten Gulf Coast, which we let get swallowed up and haven’t rebuilt yet.Dangerblond:
Individual people are fixing up their houses, non-profit local groups organize clean-ups, volunteers, bless their hearts, still come down here from all over to help people gut and clean out the muck from their former homes. Nothing has been done toward New Orleans’ recovery that was not accomplished by individuals using their own money. New grass on the median? Kiss my ass, Ed Blakely.
The Internet discussions are clearly an indication of just how little this is being discussed in circles of people who actually have the power to act, and that scares the living fucking daylights out of me that they’re gonna flail around looking for something to do when this entire portion of the country is just one long to-do list.
Do our presidential candidates get that it’s still this bad and that they don’t have to invent something new to give a shit about when this is waiting there for them to give a shit about it? Because I don’t expect everybody to know everything about everything, or talk about everything all at once, which is the only way you could avoid pissing somebody off. But this isn’t like eliminating the penny or researching a wolves-only highway (ask me about my West Wing renaissance sometime), where I need a speech to validate that I’m being thought of and feel important.
This is an entire segment of our country that’s just been written off, and if we go hunting around for something shiny and new to shove to the top of the needs list so we can make ourselves look good without solving the actual problem in front of us that needs to be solved, I’m … well, it would be hard for me to be more bitter and disillusioned in the future than I already am right now. Still, every time I declare rock bottom reached, a trap door opens up fucking wide.