Follow Up to New Orleans: The Nation’s Shame

What You Need To Know: A Summary For You Lazy Asses

·         Try to read the whole thing.  It should be an interesting read.

·         But in case you can’t, here’s the bottom line:

Republican* belief in small government à Republican campaign rhetoric saying that government should be small à Republicans making the government small once they have control of the government à Republican-controlled small government can’t do jack shit à Republicans take the failures of their small government as “proof” that government always fucks up and thus needs to be small à Republican belief in small government.

*I use “Republican” and “conservative” interchangeably.  If you prefer, replace “Republican” with “conservative” wherever it appears above.

 

I didn’t include this part in “New Orleans: The Nation’s Shame” because I didn’t know how to fit it in without disrupting the entry’s flow.  I know it’s long, but try to read the whole thing – it should be an easy read anyways.

 

There may be underlying reasons to the agonizingly slow pace of NOLA’s recovery that appeal to the cynical eye.  Besides the fact that NOLA is a Democratic stronghold in an otherwise Republican state and that the diaspora of New Orleans residents to other states may very well have made the state as a whole even more Republican, the utter incompetence of the government before, during, and after the storm as well as throughout the recovery serves the interests of the conservative movement as an “example” of how the government is all bad and can’t do nothing right and yadi yadi yaddah.  To quote Al Franken, “Republicans run for office saying that the government doesn’t work, then they get elected and they prove it.”

 

Conversely, the devastation of New Orleans would have provided the American public with a great demonstration of how much good the government is capable of doing.  If we had a strong, active federal government like the kind I advocate, it would have conceivably reinforced the levees and prevented the mass flooding from happening in the first place, then speedily repaired any damages and, along with state and local governments, efficiently rebuilt New Orleans, brought New Orleans residents back home and made the city better and brighter than ever before.

 

Obviously, that was not what happened.  The government – at all levels, I’m afraid, but especially at the federal level – failed New Orleans just before the storm.  It failed it during the storm.  It failed it right after the storm.  And it has continuously failed New Orleans since then, and it continues to fail New Orleans today.  This is through no real fault of Democrats, mind you (at the federal level, anyway – I couldn’t care less about Kathleen Blanco and Ray Nagin) but rather, Republicans, as they control the White House and, until recently, Congress, and as such they’re the ones that have been at the helm of any federal efforts that could’ve helped NOLA.

 

Consider that, if they do a good job for New Orleans, they’ll go against the anti-government philosophy they so strongly believe in.  On the other hand, if they do a bad job, that’ll fit right in with the anti-government philosophy they so strongly believe in!  By making sure that the government doesn’t do anything right, always fucks things up, and doesn’t care for and doesn’t do right by the American people, the Republicans have shown the people of New Orleans and the country as a whole that the government can’t do anything right, always fucks things up, doesn’t care for and can’t do right by the American people, and that people should not trust in the government to take care of their problems, but should instead place their faith in private businesses – several of which have been awarded handsome salaries and exclusive contracts for Gulf Coast reconstruction by the Bush administration.  Combine that with NOLA’s mostly Democratic voting tendencies and the total fuck up of any and all government efforts relating to New Orleans is a done deal!

 

To illustrate the point:

 

Republican* belief in small government à Republican campaign rhetoric saying that government should be small à Republicans making the government small once they have control of the government à Republican-controlled small government can’t do jack shit à Republicans take the failures of their small government as “proof” that government always fucks up and thus needs to be small à Republican belief in small government.

*I use “Republican” and “conservative” interchangeably.  If you prefer, replace “Republican” with “conservative” wherever it appears above.

 

Of course, there’s no way – to my knowledge anyway – to really prove that President Bush and Congressional Republicans deliberately sabotaged the reconstruction of New Orleans in service of conservative ideology.  But the motive is certainly there, and the example of New Orleans is just one in a long line of government fuck ups that fit a pattern, a pattern of “government should just step back and not interfere, and instead let private businesses do the important jobs” – a mantra that Republicans have been happy to openly proclaim, not to mention campaign on.  Consider also that while a lot of the problems that have beset New Orleans have been the result of government doing something badly, many others have been the result of government doing nothing at all – and while Republicans might not say they’re for bad government (government doing something badly), they will freely and proudly say they’re for small government (government doing nothing at all).  Plus, a big reason why government efforts have done so many things badly is because they’re underfunded and underequipped – and conservative Republicans are always the ones calling for and pushing through lower government spending.

 

I would point out to anyone ready to disparage the government for being incompetent that it’s the conservative small-government way of thinking, not the government itself, that leads to the kind of government failures we saw in New Orleans.  And in New York City.  And all over the country, over the past six years of Republican domination.

 

I found a great read called Framing Katrina by George Lakoff and John Halpin, that agrees with many of the points I made and lays out a really strong strategy for liberals/progressives to talk about Katrina and New Orleans.

2 thoughts on “Follow Up to New Orleans: The Nation’s Shame

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s