Against the Grain has a recap on some of the fine blog coverage of the storm and its aftermath. One caught my eye, which ties in somewhat to Friday's post - why this unfolded the way it did. It's from Nicole Gelinas at City Journal, and I include here the excerpt from Against the Grain:
The truth is that even on a normal day, New Orleans is a sad city. Sure, tourists think New Orleans is fun: you can drink and hop from strip club to strip club all night on Bourbon Street, and gamble all your money away at Harrah’s. But the city’s decline over the past three decades has left it impoverished and lacking the resources to build its economy from within. New Orleans can’t take care of itself even when it is not 80 percent underwater; what is it going to do now, as waters continue to cripple it, and thousands of looters systematically destroy what Katrina left unscathed? . . .
Here are Christopher's comments: Nicole describes NO as a city having "long suffered from incompetence and corruption", illustrating the necessity of moral renewal of local government, concurrent with economic and social rehabilitation. I couldn't say it any better.
Christopher also links to Oswald Sobrino's post on the "Hurricane Finger-Pointers." Oswald concludes thustly:
The scandalous ineptness and stupidity shown by local and state officials in failing to enforce and implement a true evacuation of the most vulnerable is, unfortunately, a continuation of the long history of misrule that has marked my native city for decades. Remember that fact when you see local and state officials lashing out at the federal response. Their lashing out is an attempt at distracting from their own obvious responsibility for a self-magnified disaster.
I heard much the same thing from Captain's Quarters and other members of the Northern Alliance Radio Network on their Saturday broadcast from the Minnesota State Fair, where we knew we'd get some straight talk on the political angle of this story.
As I said on Friday, the finger-pointing didn't take long; and while it's one thing to speculate on the hurricane itself, it's another to look at the criminal behavior which came in its wake, and what it tells us about ourselves. Folks, when you remove God from the public square, along with any moral and ethical teaching, and replace it with a non-judgemental, permissive, licentious culture - well, what do you expect?
Now, don't let the behavior of the bad apples prevent you from giving until it hurts, because there are a lot more good apples (I hope), true victims who are in desperate need of our help. But by the same token, don't let the magnitude of this tragedy prevent us from asking the questions that need to be asked, about how we got in this situation in the first place, and what needs to be done to prevent it from happening again. For what has happened is a scandal, and while some of it couldn't be helped, much of it could.