Friday, September 02, 2005

White pride on Black lives

Times of crisis tend to bring out either the worst or the best in people. When we lost power in 2003, I recall seeing a biker stop at an intersection and start directing traffic. My spirit in people was instantly lifted as a driver handed out a bottle of water as he went by the traffic directing biker. The entire city came together at a time of collective hardship.

I cannot imagine the horror down in New Orleans right now. Despite the ample warning to evacuate the city, many were left stranded only able to take shelter in the Superdome. Was it the stubborn that stayed behind riding out the waves? Certainly some, but the majority of those left behind are poor and homeless. They do not have SUV’s to drive out of the city with; they cannot afford the transportation to take them out of that flood plain of a city. All they could do was hope for the best in public shelter. The best didn’t happen.

We call it a humanitarian crisis. Indeed it is the worst natural disaster to hit the United States in living memory. Canada along with many other nations and international bodies are standing at the ready waiting for permission to send aid. So four days later no foreign help has arrived in Louisiana. Do the allies of the United States not care? Although help is available, countries cannot send military aid without being asked, that would be an invasion of sovereignty.

George W. Bush is too proud a man to ask his friends for help. Besides, those dying in New Orleans are only the black, the poor, the homeless, and the democratic voters. Why waste international political capital on people who will not reward you with their votes anyways? If the United States asked for help, the mightiest nation on the planet might lose moral authority. They might even have to give in on points of foreign policy. Foreign diplomacy is a lot of quid pro quo, and they are not waste any quid on black voters.

What angers me most is not that the disaster didn’t bring out the best in the people of New Orleans. What angers me is that dying people could not cut lose the pettiness of George W. Bush. His ideological America is now bought on the shoulders of black Americans. New Orleans may stand together yet, but George Bush has divided America.