Saturday Night Live had an opening sketch that sticks in my mind. In it, Bush wins the 2000 presidency and he’s commenting on the state of our nation: “The Great Lakes are on fire – even I know that’s not good.”
On September 11, 2001, 2,819 died in a terrorist action on our soil. Bush responded by focusing his energy on attacking Iraq. The grounds for such a move have been debated and debased elsewhere many time since. Still, we are in the middle of that uncomfortable decision, with our progress debatable. And a handful more of Americans dying on foreign soil each day.
On August 25, 2005, Katrina devastated Louisiana. Destroying one of the largest, most American of cities. Thousand are likely dead. Drowned in their own homes. From flooding caused by slashing 80% of the maintenance funding on weakening levees. The thousands that made it out of their homes watched each other starve and die while waiting for our over-stretched National Guard to rescue them (aren’t they in Iraq also?). The million that evacuated prior to this disaster are now looking for a home – any home – anywhere in the nearby states. Alabama, Texas, Tennessee are simply the first to be asked.
This is far, far worse than the World Trade Center. The entire population of New York City didn’t have to relocate. With nothing. Albeit with a heavy heart, the city that never sleeps picked itself up and continued onward. Even now.
New Orleans does not share that fate. Right now, it’s somewhere under 20 feet of sewage, corpses, and flood water. It will be years, if not decades, before that city is more than a shadow of itself. Until then, we have lost. Lost friends, lost homes, and lost a great American city.
Who do we attack for this? God?
There is no one to blame except ourselves. We weren’t prepared. Aside from the fact that the damage is greater and the number of lives affected is greater, what makes New Orleans more painful than 9/11? New Orleans was self-inflicted.
We elected Bush.
“New Orleans is more devastated than New York was.”( – even I know that’s not good?)