Being a New Yorker who was living in Gotham during 9/11, I know all too well the feelings of despair and helplessness that the hundreds of thousands of refugee New Orleanians must feel as they flee their beloved city, now in ruins.
Blame President Bush.
On the day that major media finally started asking the right questions, iconoclast national columnist Molly Ivins squarely placed blame where it is due: the disregard of an American president for the continued funding of levee upgrades and wetlands protections that were put in place to prevent the City of New Orleans from drowning under a major hurricane. Indeed, almost $72 million in levee upgrade monies were slashed a mere two months before Katrina. This would be laughably ironic if it weren’t so painful right now on the ground (where you can find it).
(You can read a fine, detailed account of the dismantling of New Orleans hurricance-protection funding here in today’s Chicago Tribune. Kudos to the Trib for running this.)
That would be enough of an outrage, except for the tiny additional fact that more than a quarter of the Louisiana National Guard — and tons of materiel including amphibious vehicles and rescue craft — are now deployed in Iraq, along with many local Army reservists. If there’s anyone left out there who didn’t think our modern-day Vietnam was going to have actual consequences to life and limb right here at home, this would be a good time to open your eyes. Here it is right in front of you on your nightly newscast and your Internet video feed.
As an urban planner, I grieve for New Orleans. As a New Yorker, I grive for New Orleanians. As an American, I grieve for the Presidency.
One looks for the humor in politics. There is none here.
Michael Thaddeus Doyle
I'm a NYC-native, Latino, Jew-by-choice, hardcore WDW fan in Chicago with an Irish last name. I believe in social justice, big cities, and public transit. I do nonprofit development. I've written this blog since 2005. Believe in the world you want to live in.