Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Brownie tries to mend his reputation

Brown’s Revisionist History

Today, answering questions before a special congressional panel set up to investigate Katrina, Michael Brown tried to resuscitate his reputation. The facts didn’t back him up so Brown engaged in some revisionist history.

Have to admit I have only watched a portion of his testimony; enough to know that he is blaming everything on the "dysfunctional state of Louisiana," Blanco and Nagin. Everything went fine in Fla. Mississippi and Alabama. He can't help it if all of those states just happen to have Republican Governors and the Governor of La. and Mayor Nagin are Democrats. That is just the way it worked out.
Well, Brownie, just let an old southern gal explain something to you. Everyone with half a brain, in this part of the country, knows that New Orleans is not just any city in America. It was here before the United States of America was born and was not like any other city in the U.S:
1) Yes, New Orleans was definitely a place for celebrations. Those folks down there know how to throw a party, that is for sure. They celebrated just about everything from birth to death, and every now and again, some of us from around the south, the country and the world, got to join them in some celebration or the other, or just simply take a long weekend and go down to the Big Easy for a celebration of our very own. People all over the world have fond memories of New Orleans. I would bet that if I had a buck for every Pat O'Brian's Hurricane or Cyclone glass in homes around America, I could probably own a spot on Bourbon Street all my very own.
2) It is the first great port on the Mississippi River, through which many exports leave America.
3) N.O. sits below sea level. There is water, water everywhere, literally, and the nation has a vested interest in its welfare. Scientists, meteorologists and, yes, environmentalists and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had been warning, for years, of the catastrophic disaster that awaited the Crescent City, were it's levee system not fixed and strengthened,  should there be a cat 4 or 5 'cane. Anyone who pays attention to 'canes, which is most people who live in the South and, especially, those who grew up in the south, know that the hurricanes have been getting more violent, more destructive....more devastating. Most of us sense that this is not just a cycle of some kind, but even if it is, we have known about it for some time.
We know that the polar cap is melting and that the seas are rising. The Gulf of Mexico is so warm by mid June, it feels like bath water at the shores. It is like a super energy charger for 'canes that make it into the Gulf. As anyone who watches the weather channel during the season knows, 'canes love warm, deep water to feed on. As the seas continue to become warmer, we can expect more of what we have seen with Katrina and last years storms that did their very best to destroy  Florida, and from what we understand, did destroy parts of it.
4) New Orleans is the closest thing we have to another culture within our own boundaries. One which can be appreciated and enjoyed just for what it is. I hear that some in the religious right think that New Orleans has been punished by God's wrath in the form of Katrina, for all manner of sin. But it has been my experience that mature people could visit New Orleans and not lose their souls. New Orleans often made a place for people who were different, exotic and eccentric. In the bargain, the city came by much of its charm. New Orleans often made a place for people with broken hearts and minds. Sometimes, they would mend enough to become "characters," around town. Others did not mend and became part of a criminal element, not unlike in every other large city in America, or the victim of a criminal element; official or otherwise. No one I know was ever forced to go to New Orleans.
(Memo to the religious right: Shut up! You sound crazy when you say things like that, not to mention heartless and the antithesis of everything Christ stood for and taught in his life.)
Brownie, you see, we all know that New Orleans will never be the same. We all see who is in charge, and none of you know anything about New Orleans, just like you don't know anything about Iraq. But you all know how to pass out those no bid contracts and scatter the poor of New Orleans, both black and white all over the country. If there are those who wish to stay in a new place and make a fresh start, let them. But those who want to return to their city and participate in the re-creation of their city and their culture, let them, and pay them a living wage and then some.
You all fiddled while New Orleans drowned! You all owe those people big time. This is one cover-up that isn't going to fly.


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