Okay, I have opened the floodgates.
Ouch! That was the wrong metaphor. But you know what I mean...
There is just too much being said--and not widely disseminated--out there to avoid sharing, musing. And to stop thinking.
In a speech Tuesday in Congress, our own freshman Senator from Illinois, Barak Obama, got to the heart of it:
And so I hope that out of this crisis we all begin to reflect - Democrat and Republican - on not only our individual responsibilities to ourselves and our families, but to our mutual responsibilities to our fellow Americans. I hope we realize that the people of New Orleans weren't just abandoned during the Hurricane. They were abandoned long ago - to murder and mayhem in their streets; to substandard schools; to dilapidated housing; to inadequate health care; to a pervasive sense of hopelessness.
This isn't political pontification. This isn't Reflex Liberalism, or its less diplomatic sibling, Knee-Jerk Reactionaryism (eg. "Bush doesn't care about black people"). This isn't even the unfathomably collossal fuck-up of FEMA and whoever actually has been running that organization besides two preppy former college roommates who are more accustomed to handling horseflesh and golfclubs than crises.
You and I saw it last week: it's real.
But that was Obama's conclusion. To start, he recalled his visit to the Astrodome in Houston:
...a conversation I had with one woman captured the realities that are settling into these families as they face the future.
She told me "We had nothing before the hurricane. Now we got less than nothing."
I urge you, read Obama's entire speech here.