Huckleberries Online

THURSDAY, SEPT. 8, 2005, 12:22 A.M.

Peanut Gallery — A Rip in Society’s Fabric

I've held off on commenting about the Katrina response stuff until there was a little more information.

While the partisan in me would like to just blast Bush and company, particularly Brown, it's clear to me that there was a complete breakdown at all levels. IMO, Nagin is/was completely unable to adequately to handle the situation and Blanco seems equally clueless, while Bush and the feds were inexcusably slow--especially when compared to their response in Florida (which just happened to occur during an election year).

It's good to see that now that everyone is fully engaged a lot of progress is being made. I've been to NO several times and it's heartwrenching to see what has happened to one of America's most original cities. Plus, the destruction in Mississippi is staggering.

What most troubles me, though, is while this country put almost all partisan politics aside after 9/11, the bitterness and finger-pointing surfaced almost immediately during this crisis. Why? Was it because 9/11 was human caused versus a natural disaster (after all American like a clearly defined enemy)? Because it mostly affected white collar workers versus mostly poor and black citizens (World Trade Center vs. blighted urban areas)?

I believe that Katrina has ripped open more than a few levees in Louisiana. We may be staring directly into a huge tear in our very social fabric. A tear only ham-handedly patched previously by years of dehumanizing and ineffective social programs, civil rights drum-beating and our innate ability to ignore that which does not directly affect us.

Ryan Hill

DFO: Best comment I've seen here on this subject.

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Huckleberries Online

D.F. Oliveria started Huckleberries Online on Feb. 16, 2004. Oliveria's Sunday print Huckleberries is a past winner of the national Herb Caen Memorial Column contest.