one question for you about the horror in New Orleans

I could write on and on about the horrors of what is happening in New Orleans. But I’ll try to contain myself.

It’s not enough to survive 100 mph winds or fifteen-foot storm surges, or flooding throughout the town, or living in one’s attic for three days, without water, hoping that someone might hear your plaintive voice. But then, you gather in front of the Convention Center, just in front of the water, assuming that someone will recognize your plight, and that of the 3000 people around you. After all, television crews from all over the world are wandering among you, and all your neighbors in need of help. Diabetic women in insulin shock. Pregnant women going into labor. Handicapped women in wheelchairs having seizures. Old men who cannot breathe anymore. The government’s going to come, aren’t they?

Oh, that’s right. The Louisiana National Guard is in Iraq. Oops.

I can’t be the only one who’s thinking this: if all those thousands of people weren’t black, would they just be allowed to languish there? Would the police refuse to enter into the area for fear of their own safety if the masses of people starving, hysterical, and naked (to quote Ginsberg, in a way he probably never intended) were white? If this had been Malibu, California, and all the victims had been movie stars, would they still be there, three days later, with no hope of rescue?

Would this happen in Seattle?


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