New Orleans is Not a Morality Play

Enter narrator

I pray you all give your audience,
And here this matter with reverence,
By figure a moral play-
The Flooding of New Orleans called it is,
That of our lives and ending shows
How transitory we be all day.

Enter preacher, sturm and drang…

It has nothing to do with Southern Decadence, despite what the bigots at “Repent America” would have you believe.

Katrina also didn’t happen because we’re at war in Iraq, and the Corps of Engineers spending that’s been delayed would not have saved the city. It might have delayed destruction to the next storm, but the geography of New Orleans made this inevitable.

So what we have is a tragedy, not a morality play in which to put forth a world view. If your world view needs promoting, please find a less tragic canvas.

(Morality play idea from PC. Doggrel by GAP. Asshole links via Reason’s Hit and Run.)

3 thoughts on “New Orleans is Not a Morality Play

  1. It’s certainly true that there is a tendency to read blame into it (quick! how was it Clinton’s fault?) But am I being too partisan when I get annoyed that the head of FEMA is qualified because of his pre-Bush experience as an estate planning lawyer? (http://www.whitehouse.gov/government/brown-bio.html) Or when FEMA’s list of suggested donation sites has Pat Robertson’s (yes, that Pat Robertson) charity in the number two spot on a list of THREE charities. (http://www.fema.gov/press/2005/resources_katrina.shtm#canhelp)
    I hate to say that they started it, but…

  2. I’m with Friedman on this. Even Bush recognizes that he is out of his league dealing with this, and he’d better “do” something to cover his butt. This is demonstrated by his asking Clinton and Bush I for help. These are two men who, for different reasons, W wants desperately to prove he is better than. Not this time, I guess.
    Aside from the question of the current FEMA honcho’s adequacy, there is the stark comparison with Clinton’s FEMA guy, James Lee Witt, who by all accounts (such as the one at http://www.bestofneworleans.com/dispatch/2004-09-28/cover_story.html) kicked butt.
    Obviously, N.O. was going to be flooded sometime. The destruction of San Francisco is likewise a certainty. However, one doesn’t (at present) have a week’s notice of earthquakes, and for flooding, the only real protection is a good which is joint in consumption, whereas with earthquakes individual buildings can be strengthened. I think it is a fair criticism of the current national administration to say that from a risk management perspective alone they have grossly misallocated resources. Moreover, lest someone suggest that in order to stem the tide in N.O. Bush would have to have chosen to take funds away from the war on terror, I would offer the reminder that while the WoT was well under way, he managed to get a tax cut passed. He’s looking to get another passed right now, in fact.

  3. Given enough time, everything is doomed — by asteroid, supervolcano, or heat death of the universe. But that’s no excuse for failure to plan for smaller disasters.

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