Foxessa takes advantage of a New York Times article about post-Katrina documentaries to discuss the phenomena of "Katrina fatigue." I'm reminded of having to read Kierkegaard in a philosophy class. Old Soren is tough sledding to say the least, and the class was restive. The professor asked how many of us thought that Kierkegaard was unimportant and would just as soon move on to something else. Almost everyone in the class raised his or her hand. The professor sat back, crossed his arms, and told that Kierkegaard was important and that he was going to talk about Kierkegaard until we agreed.
Well, damn it, Katrina is important. You can bet that every one of our fellow Americans who lived through it are more fatigued than the rest of us are, but they can't escape it. It may seem odd that a blogger in the Pacific Northwest who has never lived in New Orleans keeps ragging on it. Hell, sometimes it seems odd to me. But what happened in New Orleans has meaning to us all, as does what continues to happen and not happen.
Katrina represents a complete and abject failure of the decades-long federal policy of paying for a defense establishment at the expense of our own crumbling infrastructure.
Katrina represents a complete and abject failure of the philosophy of letting the states handle everything so that wealthy conservatives can give themselves a tax rebate.
Katrina represents the complete and abject failure of the Army Corps of Engineers, entrusted with damn and levee maintenance all over the country.
Katrina represents a complete and abject failure of the notion that this country is above the problems of class.
Katrina represents a complete and abject failure of the claim that we have moved beyond the problems of race.
Above all, Katrina represents a complete and abject failure of the operative definition of freedom in this country, which has devolved to the concept that freedom means acquiring as much as you can and doing whatever you want to with it while avoiding any responsibility for the common welfare.
Katrina also represents an institutional disdain for the history of our country. New Orleans is fantastically important in that regard. a point that one rarely sees mentioned in any article about Katrina. New Orleans is one of the oldest cities in America, filled with architectural treasures. The music you listen to and the recipes you consume likely have roots in New Orleans. It's a part of us whether we know it or not.
Katrina could represent a triumph of local, state, and federal coordination and action.
Katrina could represent a triumph of leadership.
Katrina could represent a triumph of community, the community of Americans unwilling to permit the loss of a great city.
It's a long way from representing any of those things and it likely never will. It definitely won't happen if we cave into Katrina fatigue and still our voices...
There is some good news...
The Lost Shall Be Found Dept: When you've written as much as Bob Dylan has, you can be expected to forget about a poem or two or three...