Monday, December 12, 2005

Jazz Funeral

I can't say it better then this editorial today in the NY Times:

We are about to lose New Orleans. Whether it is a conscious plan to let the city rot until no one is willing to move back or honest paralysis over difficult questions, the moment is upon us when a major American city will die, leaving nothing but a few shells for tourists to visit like a museum...

The rumbling from Washington that the proposed cost of better levees is too much has grown louder. Pretending we are going to do the necessary work eventually, while stalling until the next hurricane season is upon us, is dishonest and cowardly. Unless some clear, quick commitments are made, the displaced will have no choice but to sink roots in the alien communities where they landed...

Total allocations for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the war on terror have topped $300 billion. All that money has been appropriated as the cost of protecting the nation from terrorist attacks. But what was the worst possible case we fought to prevent?

Losing a major American city...

If the rest of the nation has decided it is too expensive to give the people of New Orleans a chance at renewal, we have to tell them so. We must tell them we spent our rainy-day fund on a costly stalemate in Iraq, that we gave it away in tax cuts for wealthy families and shareholders. We must tell them America is too broke and too weak to rebuild one of its great cities.

Our nation would then look like a feeble giant indeed. But whether we admit it or not, this is our choice to make. We decide whether New Orleans lives or dies.

I am overwhelmed. Some part of me wants to move to NoLa and raise my flag, to dedicate myself to helping right an historic and contemporary wrong. But what could I do? We have weapons systems that cost more then the levees the government is balking at paying for, but they roll ahead. We talk bullshit about protecting America, and stand as a city is lost. Every single person in this country should feel the stone of shame in their belly. We chose safety over freedom in democratic elections, and now are, as Jefferson predicted, left with neither.

Maybe we should let New Orleans turn into a ghost town. Like some mystical kingdom from the Bible, it may be that God took it from us because we no longer deserved to have it.


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