September 10, 2005

New Orleans is Sinking...

In the world of news, New Orleans is beginning to reach its end.  In other words, its 15 minutes of fame is almost up.  By this, I am not trying to imply that the media are just going to up and move on to the next story, but that talk about the flood itself is ending.  It is now time to begin focusing on what’s left behind, or what I believe should be the new focus: what the flood has exposed.

It’s obvious that what is left behind is tragedy, violence, death and toxic rubble.  What has been exposed is that all of these things, maybe minus the toxicity, were present in New Orleans all along.  Hurricane Katrina was essentially the hand that turned over the rock to expose the worst of American negligence.  What has been exposed is what’s left when people are left behind, forgotten and buried by ineffective policies.  

From people I know that have actually been to New Orleans, the raping, looting and shootings were nothing new, but business as usual in this city.  Hostels and hotels have signs posted warning people not to leave the building after 10pm and never to leave alone.  At the bus station, there are people trying to sell drugs of the hardest varieties instead of flowers or chocolate bars.  On a regular basis, you can pass numerous people carrying guns, knives and other weapons openly.  I had one friend that asked a security guard at the bus station about leaving the station in the afternoon to kill time before his bus left.  The answer he got was a laugh followed by an indication that it was better if he just stayed at the station.  It is pretty bad when hotels are posting warnings and security guards advise against any wandering in their own city.

This is why I think the media should focus on what has been exposed.  There are problems in this city, there are people living in 3rd World-like conditions and they are suffering.  To add to the problem these people have easy access to guns, drugs, etc.  It should come as no surprise that the problems that occurred immediately after did so.  It also exposes the problem that America is struggling to take care of its own people.  One could even come to that conclusion after the abysmal attempt by FEMA to assist the people.  But beyond this it is clear there is a serious issue of poverty and care in America as it is likely this is not isolated to New Orleans – it may just be that much worse there.  This is what the media needs to cover because it is only with awareness and pressure on the government can the necessary changes be made.  And it is obvious that changes need to be made.  The world economic powerhouse should not have these types of problems within their own country; there is no reason and no excuse for it.  It is obvious someone isn’t doing there job and it is time for a change.

This should also serve as a wake up call for other Western nations as well, especially those in the G8.  These problems may also be occurring within your own borders, it’s time for all of us to open our eyes.


Bill said...

I have to say a good part of the solution is to put welfare recipients to work, really crack down on crime, and seal the US-Mexico border to cut drug supplies.

Kyle said...

I don't necessarily disagree with your welfare comment. I tend to favour the idea of gaining employable skills and/or proper basic education in exchange for gov't assistance. Cracking down on crime however is not always the answer but rather a band-aid solution, especially if you are thinking in terms of harsher sentences and more police with greater liberty. I tend to favour systems that use a system of greater compassion, especially for those committing petty crimes. By this I mean using things such as education, counselling, community-based solutions, etc. which have all proven to be successful in many other regions. As for the issues concerning the Mexico-US border, I do not know enough to comment.
The biggest issue here though is obviously poverty, and until all levels of governments stop using micro-management techniques and utilitarian responses, then the poverty is going to continue when it doesn't have to.

Quotes from people smarter than me...

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich" ~ JFK

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. " ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. " ~ Benjamin Franklin

"First it is necessary to stand on your own two feet. But the minute a man finds himself in that position, the next thing he should do is reach out his arms. " ~ Kristin Hunter

"When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans." ~ Jean Chretien

"Which is ideology? Which not? You shall know them by their assertion of truth, their contempt for considered reflection, and their fear of debate." ~ John Ralston Saul

"It is undoubtedly easier to believe in absolutes, follow blindly, mouth received wisdom. But that is self-betrayal." ~ John Ralston Saul

"Everybody dies, Tracey. Someone's carrying a bullet for you right now, doesn't even know it. The trick is to die of old age before it finds you." ~ Cpt. Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly, Episode 12)