Thursday, September 08, 2005

The Cancer In Our Bones

I've just read another post about Katrina, this one by someone who calls New Orleans "home." They agreed that Ray Nagin had failed pretty much completely. Ditto Blanco. And they said that if "one more person defends President Bush or FEMA, I'm going to punch them."

Another person laying blame all over the place, and then looking to punch people affiliated with the Federal Government. Wonderful.

I want to be clear on one thing that the Mainstream Media is going out of their way not to be clear on: I understand.

I disagree completely, mind you, but I understand.

Blaming people is human nature. Children don't have to be trained how to do it, it just comes naturally. When cornered and there's nobody to blame, we can always blame "I don't know..." Bill Cosby explains this best, and we've all heard it.

The trouble is, Bill Cosby was talking about children - and the implication was that we were supposed to be adults, and reprimand them.

Who reprimands Rita Cosby, who I'm pretty sure is no relation to Bill? As I sat there watching her interview rescue workers a few nights ago, I was stunned at how insistent she was that someone had to take the blame. She moved the microphone from face to face, asking "who do you blame the lack of response on?" Every person she asked stated some form of the adult answer - and the right answer: "This isn't the time for that. Everyone is working hard now, and we have to stay focused on that. We can review what went wrong later."

To which Rita would reply, "Yes, but when the time is right, who do YOU think will be blamed?"

This is the cancer in our bones, and I certainly don't lay all of it on Rita's shoulders. She is but a cell in this enormous malignancy that seems determined to consume us.

Mary Landrieu, US Senator from Louisiana, threatens to punch the President of the United States because federal response hasn't satisfied her. Evidently that's called "leadership" in her world. Lay blame, and threaten violence.

The fact that she, herself, is the most powerful Federal Employee from Louisiana never entered her mind. This is the president's fault, not Louisiana's and certainly not hers. She was merely a spectator. She had nothing to do with the funding that came or didn't come to Louisiana, how it was spent, etc.

Another cell in the malignancy, and a prominent one.

Half of me wants to give Landrieu a "pass" because she is clearly affected by the destruction of her home state. That clearly has to have a lot to do with her emotional state, just like it did the columnist who is also threatening violence.

Unlike the columnist, however, her job is specifically not to act like this. They even have a word for how she's supposed to act: "Senatorial." More than anyone else in Louisiana, she must resist the human urge to blame someone.

The stakes are simply too high, and adults realize this.

Without singling anyone out, common sense tells all of us that pretty much every public official from NOLA shares some part of the blame for the poor government response. The mayor, the police, the transit people - everyone has a greater or lesser share. Ditto the State offices that have anything to do with disaster work. The Governor on down. The State legislature and senate clearly didn't do enough. Landrieu and the rest of the Federal congressional group, ditto. President Bush and FEMA, of course. The LA National Guard, obviously.

None of them were flawless, and some of them were downright horrible.

But an adult would understand that right now these are the people we are counting on to save lives. Right now. Blanco, Nagin, FEMA, Bush, NOPD, NOFD, etc., etc., etc. These are the people, right now, who we are asking to save lives.

Is this the right time to distract them by letting them know that "we're coming to investigate you," like Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and that whole Cabal did? Is this the time to tell them "You know, I'm not really sure that we should rebuild New Orleans," like the Speaker of the House did? Is this the time to tell them "It's obvious that you hate (fill in the socio-economic group of your choice)" did?

According to Rob, the answer is a resounding, "Of course not, and shame on you for not knowing this already."

All of these people are cells in the malignancy. Not only aren't they helping, they are actively hurting. They are making the people we are counting on to help "look over their shoulder."

From the left side of their face they tell us to Help, while from the right side they distract the very people who are doing the work by letting them "hear footsteps coming up behind them."

It is the cancer in our bones, and it is a tragedy. It's also, very much, a threat to us as a people.

The only question is: how do we stop it?


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