Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Gulf Coast Communities, Requiescat in Pace

This is the first anniversary of the catastrophic storm that shredded the Gulf Coast. It also pulled aside the curtain covering the Bush Administration, showing it to be shallow, heartless, weak, corrupt and unresponsive to the needs of Americans in need.

I don't want to hear a single person saying New Orleanians got what they deserved for living in an area that is below sea level. My answer to these idiots is that if the wetlands had been preserved, they would have absorbed the storm surge that was the undoing of the levees.

In addition to that, the Army Corps of Engineers (a Federal agency) is in charge of the levees and they knew that the levees had structural deficiencies due to design flaws. This has been known for decades, but nothing has been done. I am faulting Congress (both the current and previous ones) for not recognizing and acting on these facts. This is not a partisan issue, it is a domestic economic issue. You see, NOLA is one of the biggest ports in this country. Much of the oil and natural gas and consumer goods we use in my area come from the Gulf up the Mississipi and Missouri Rivers.

The entire Gulf Coast fishing industry was decimated by Katrina, and it has yet to return. Some families will never return. Entire towns were washed off the map, shrimp boats stranded in trees or smashed to bits in the battering debris-filled winds.

Katrina caused a diaspora even larger than those recounted in Scripture, around 1,000,000 people. It has allowed a quiet racial cleansing of the last bastion of the Blue South. Host towns have already started racially-toned arguements that "those people" just increase the crime rate, implying that the mostly black Katrina victims are nothing but a sucking chest wound in the body politic. They are silent as to why Katrina victims might be more prone to commiting crime. Could it be that unemployment is 34.7% for Katrina victims, while it is only 4.7% nationwide for all workers? People who are jobless will find ways to feed their families, for the same reason as unemployed Iraqis are susceptible to becoming militia members and suicide bombers. Those who are stripped of their communities and not given the dignity of gainful employment are at great risk of radicalization.

We ignore this at our peril.

The bottom line is that it is my job, and yours, and every American's to clear out the debris, rebuild and economically support those returning to the Gulf Coast. Buy more shrimp, purchase as many goods from the Gulf coast as you can. Help them survive and thrive. That's something everyone can do.

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