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Choosing Sides on the Great Divide

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posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 11:29 PM
There seem to be two extreme viewpoints coalescing out of the disaster in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, and I'm curious if members would like to state where they stand by commenting on the following two articles I received in my e-mail today. I will post the links followed by a quote from each article, then the first reply will be my opinion. Please feel free to say what you really think.

An Unnatural Disaster: A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State

Public officials did not expect that the first thing they would have to do is to send thousands of armed troops in armored vehicle, as if they are suppressing an enemy insurgency. And journalists—myself included—did not expect that the story would not be about rain, wind, and flooding, but about rape, murder, and looting.

But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster.

The man-made disaster is not an inadequate or incompetent response by federal relief agencies, and it was not directly caused by Hurricane Katrina. This is where just about every newspaper and television channel has gotten the story wrong.

The man-made disaster we are now witnessing in New Orleans did not happen over four days last week. It happened over the past four decades. Hurricane Katrina merely exposed it to public view.

The man-made disaster is the welfare state.

Do You Know What It Means to Lose New Orleans?

Now nature has done what the Civil War couldn't do. Nature has done what the labor riots of the 1920's couldn't do. Nature had done what "modern life" with its relentless pursuit of efficiency couldn't do. It has done what racism couldn't do, and what segregation couldn't do either. Nature has laid the city waste - with a scope that brings to mind the end of Pompeii.

WHAT do people really know about New Orleans?

Do they take away with them an awareness that it has always been not only a great white metropolis but also a great black city, a city where African-Americans have come together again and again to form the strongest African-American culture in the land?

posted on Sep, 7 2005 @ 11:34 PM
In response to Tracinski,

Nice spin, but deeply flawed. Out of control Capitalism created the welfare state. Or did you think FDR started all these programs on a whim, and not because of the Great Depression caused by the Stock Market crash of 1929? In order to have the Haves you must have the Havenots. These people have been conditioned throughout their lives to rely on a failed system for support, enjoying their freeloading, parasitic lifestyles with no hope for today, or tomorrow. Put yourself in their place, if you can even stoop to it for a moment in your self-righteousness, and think about how you would react to this ultimate betrayal of the responsibilities of the state.

I'm not saying that the looting and pillaging is justified, it certainly isn't, but it certainly isn't surprising either, given the circumstances so correctly described in your 'read'. Pres. Bush didn't fail these people, the State of Louisiana and the City of New Orleans failed them, miserably.

But then, you would probably say these people failed themselves, a long time ago, and the tab has finally come due.

It is not the right of the strong and financially privileged to capitalize on the weakness of others, and to add to their despair by decrying their weakness and inability to fend for themselves. It is the responsibility of the strong and financially privileged to support the weak in their time of need, to lift them up and shelter them from catastrophes such as this. That is what society is all about, if you ask me.

There is simply no excuse for the City of New Orleans releasing violent criminals to 'go back home to the projects where they came from'. There is no excuse for Mayor Nagin not following his disaster plan and enforcing mandatory evacuations of the city in the 72 hours prior to Katrina coming ashore. There is no excuse for Governor Blanco threatening to 'shoot to kill' desperate people foraging for food, water, medicine, and baby supplies, lumping them in with the violent criminals capitalizing (maybe you should be proud of the thugs for following the Enron example) on the disaster. There is no excuse for FEMA delaying federal support, turning away much needed supplies, and cutting local emergency communications. There are many lessons to be learned from what has transpired. For once, Bill O'Reilly and I see eye to eye on something.

This disaster is, as your 'read' says, a good example of learned behavior. The thugs preying on the defenseless poor trapped in that flooded hellhole of a city have learned their lessons in capitalism well, using guns and knives instead of dollars and welfare to get their point across. They have been shown the way by our fearless leaders. Are you too busy defending your beloved Pres. Bush, who gave you your precious tax cuts (which, by the way, helped pave the way for this debacle), to see that?

So what is it? Is it 'Do as I say, not as I do', or 'There but for the grace of God go I'?

posted on Sep, 8 2005 @ 08:45 AM
Hey, I'm not trying to be divisive here, I was just so shocked by Tracinski's opinion, and so moved by Anne Rice's, that I had to see where other members stand on these issues.

I am about as white and country an individual as there is, my dad was a total bigot, and I was married to a black woman for nine years. I didn't marry her because she was black, and I didn't divorce her because she is black. She is an individual, like each of us, not a race. We don't get along well at all, but I am still, a year after our split, allowing her to live in my house for the sake of our son. It isn't easy, but it is the right thing to do. My son's future is worth it. Even if I end up dying of food poisoning to ensure it (half kidding).

Our nation's future is worth working out our differences as individuals, too. Like it or not, we are all in this together.

posted on Sep, 8 2005 @ 09:03 AM
Tracinski's opinion is more common among libertarian/conservatives than is being spoken aloud---I can guaranteee that there is a side of Bush and his puppetmasters that think "this istheir own fault." Hell, Fox News would love to come right out and say it, as well. (As a side note, has anyone noticed how Fox seems to be limply hanging onto their efforts to blame the terrible response on Mayor C. Ray Nagin, even though it's been proven that holds no water? They keep trying, but it looks like they're finally ready to give up on that flawed line of reasoning.) Barbara Bush's comment that "most of these people were underprivileged anyway, so this has worked out really well for them" is not so far from opinions like Tracinski's, either---the only difference being that he wouldn't even put them up in emergency shelters and would just leave them to fend for themselves.
I agree that the "welfare state" is indeed an outgrowth---and, really, a hidden ally of---out-of-control capitalism, but that's a side to the equation that conservatives never seem to be willing to acknowledge.
Excellent posts, many thanks.

posted on Sep, 15 2005 @ 11:51 AM
Personally--and this is just me--if I lacked transportation, I would have started walking out of there--or bicycling if I had a bike. There was enough time--people knew for days Katrina was headed their way. They could have holed up in a Salvation Army center or something.

Charities should be used to help those who were unable to get away.

As a conservative, I believe people should be encouraged to do for themselves if they can, instead of being encouraged to mooch.

This problem is a lot more complex than you think, and I could write an essay on what went wrong in our society to bring about this situation.

posted on Sep, 15 2005 @ 11:59 AM

Originally posted by Amethyst
Personally--and this is just me--if I lacked transportation, I would have started walking out of there--or bicycling if I had a bike.

I am just the opposite of this.

I would have shipped my family out but stayed to protect my property, but then again we have owned this land for over 150 years and that makes a lot of difference.

[edit on 15-9-2005 by Amuk]

posted on Sep, 15 2005 @ 12:47 PM

Originally posted by Amethyst
As a conservative, I believe people should be encouraged to do for themselves if they can, instead of being encouraged to mooch.

I agree, people should learn to take care of themselves and their loved ones, however the gov't should also give them a hand, since that's part of what their job is and part of what they get paid for.

posted on Sep, 15 2005 @ 08:27 PM

Originally posted by Icarus Rising

An Unnatural Disaster: A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State


But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster.

..... and it was not directly caused by Hurricane Katrina. This is where just about every newspaper and television channel has gotten the story wrong.

The man-made disaster we are now witnessing in New Orleans did not happen over four days last week.

Do You Know What It Means to Lose New Orleans?

... Nature[with the help of men] has laid the [former]city waste -

The Aftermath is a result of the welfare state mindset, the last gasp of 'The Great Society' program.

And the catastrophe was unforseen because of hubris, as the planners & engineers thought they had all their ducks-in-a-row,
that smug attitude we saw before...
from all the WTC engineers/planners/visionaries/code enforcers/political legacy dreamers/financers/insurers/security et al...

...They Never Imagined groups of zealots commandeering commercial aircraft into the Twin Towers

...They Never Imagined, and the Computer Models Never Accounted For,
The back-side of a Hurricane causing a unsecured barge to damage a levee
to a state that the high water would breach & destroy 100+feet of Levee!
and result in 80% of the city being flooded....

...the mayhem was only a logical progression of a group which preceived themselves as being Left-for-dead, as hours without relief efforts turned into days....


New Orleans, is not lost
the Port and Docks are still Viable
the Business Section is in need of cosmetic repair, at worst
the French Quarter is still recoverable & a viable tourist attraction,
& now even more valuable!


that generally covers what i think about the 2 options given...
(neither one is correct or complete)

posted on Sep, 15 2005 @ 10:07 PM
I agree that neither of the views expressed is correct or complete. What struck me about Tracinski's article was the man had the gall to circulate it on the web while there are still dead bodies floating around and trapped in attics in NO, being eaten by alligators and chewed by dogs, or bursting open as they rot in the sun.

The crass and heartless nature of blaming the victims of such a hopeless calamity as the welfare state and such a horrendous tradgedy as the aftermath of Katrina really made the bile rise in my throat.

posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 03:14 AM
Having once been a strong Objectivist, the opinions of the first columnist are along the same ideas I once expressed - not in these circumstances. Nor did I ever use the intolerance and disgust that often pervades these statements. After 10 years as a Critical Care RN, I returned to my first choice - home care. Along with experiencing major depression during that time, I met people from all areas, penthouses to crackhouses, and everything in between. I came to recognize the ones I call the SACs -solid American citizens. They had the opportunites, education, family and enough intelligence to make the most of their lives and you could tell from the way they interacted, their families were very functional. Too many of the wealthy were pretty sad. Either rude or degrading to every one. I got to the point that there were several highrises I dreaded going to. And they had all the same problems - just more money to be able to pay for anything not covered by insurance.

The poor were a mix. I never met someone who qualified as what began to be termed "the undeserving poor". (I still have this very uneasy feeling about how Jesus would react to that phrase. I am not a trinitarian - I have come to believe he was right about some things). There were a lot of disabled, people in wheelchairs from drunk driving accidents (the other guy), people with MS, strokes, cardiac cripples, amputees, etc. I met their neighbors too. Because they would help each other out. People who had two jobs and their own kids that would come over and be sure their neighbor had groceries or medicine, a hot meal, etc. I took care of guys with gunshot wounds from gang/drug wars; sometimes part of it, sometimes in the wrong place. And there were plenty of elderly, living in houses they had long since paid for, choosing between food and medicine, heat and medicine, decent shoes and medicine. There were a few prostitutes (not on welfare or food stamps) and druggies - most with families, children, pets...
Lots of Vietnam Vets, most with uncontrolled pain issues and many with PTSD. And Holocaust survivors.

And sometimes I would run accross that rare individual, an hispanic man, a black woman, an Asian; people who slowly but surely over the time I cared for them, revealed an intelligence that would break my heart.
Trapped by their race, gender, birth time, etc. the opportunity to use that phenomenal gift was denied. They all had succeeded well in what they managed to get into. But the most was skilled labor, not the doctors, teachers, scientists, artists they had the intelligence to be.

I think there is a lot to learn about poverty and how we could better help people to be able to care for themselves. I know the majority don't live comfortably or with anything but the bare needs. And the one thing that truly made a difference in this time was the Disabilities act. People who had been shut in their apartments could get out, maneuver their wheelchairs across streets, go do their own shopping, etc. The change from utter boredom to being a part of their community was just an incredible boost to their mental health.

My bottom line is: there are some freeloaders out there and I have no problem getting them to assume responsibility for their own lives.. It's not that big a percentage. I don't have a problem helping the rest. I would much rather help them than the "undeserving rich". I would rather pay more taxes and have no patients who have no health care (health care is not something that qualifies for deferred gratification). I don't have much of a retirement account. Hospitals think nurses will work themselves to death. We do.

And I think the whole country would benefit from a little more of that laid back southern lifestyle that Rice described. Time to enjoy our families, hobbies, friends, whatever. To get enough sleep, daydream without three mortgage companies calling to check on your finances (NONE OF YOUR FRICKIN BUSINESS) read more books. GROW the roses. Have a spirited conversation with someone who has a different opinion

posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 08:28 AM
Just an awesome response from someone truly 'in the know'. Thank you so much for the time you took to respond here, and for all the time you take to help others. Please be sure to take adequate time to see to your own health, people like you are in extremely short supply these days. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a long line of worthy souls waiting to take your place.

posted on Sep, 16 2005 @ 09:12 AM
That really was a great post, Ginny, one of the more enlightened I've seen in quite some time, and goes to show the value of letting life and its experiences help to shape and define one's worldview rather than being trapped into dogmatic structures of thought. Many thanks.

posted on Sep, 17 2005 @ 08:28 PM
Icarus, Ryan,

Thanks for your feedback. Have found both of you post good ideas. I have always been a live and learn person. Nursing puts you in situations that confront your beliefs almost as soon as you form them!

I used to take really good care of myself; diet and exercize, meditation, etc. Over the last 5 years, health care has become such a nightmare, I can barely keep up with grocery shopping and paying the bills. We often commisserate on how exhausted we are on our days off - spending a lot of them sleeping or just lying on the couch. When I saw the pictures of the WTC towers imploding, I could only think: wait til the health care system finally implodes. Factoid: the number of uninsured Americans is = to the combined populations of 26 states. Not the most populated, obviously. But if 26 states all had a problem, I think we would have found some way to deal with it.

And after 17 years of being politically active, I am trying to be involved in getting US in a better era of "government of the people, by the people and for the people". My 20 year old daughter does not think the world can escape another Dark Ages. I suppose not many on this board would find that terribly radical.
What bugs me about it is, she played the "Civilization" computer game in just about all of the versions and had a fantastic hs history teacher for American and World history.

I have this uh-oh sense that if we don't turn it around soon, we will not be able to.

As ONE of my bumper stickers says:

GET INVOLVED The world is run by the people who SHOW up.

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