Canal Water Review

"To teach superstitions as truth is a most terrible thing." Hypatia "Yeah. That pretty much sucks canal water." cwr

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Progressive Prize?

It's starting to get exciting now that we have some actual indictments (Delay, et al) and the prospect of more (Rove, et al) in front of us. No one is more excited than I to look toward the day that all of these threads of corruption and incompetence are pulled together so that even the most oblivious American can see that we have been led down a fairly long and rather thorny garden path these past few years.

Howsomever, I do think progressives run the risk of taking our eyes off of a very important prize if we give in to our disaster fatigue and think we have done all we should do if we've made our donations, volunteered a bit of time, and snarked about Brownie. There were four (count them: Alabama, Missisissippi, Louisiana, Texas) states battered, some worse than others, by the double whammy of Katrina and Rita. Some parts of those states were literally leveled. In all four of those states, the ugly facts of racism and extreme poverty once again (after way too long a time of invisibility) raised their heads so that, unfortunately, the whole world could see them.

There are scandals to be found in the aftermath of these hurricanes. More corruption. More incompetence. More fodder for future election speeches.

In the meantime, there are very real people who live--or lived--in those areas whose lives and livelihoods were simply destroyed. Choose your motivation: humanitarian, pragmatic, political, whatever. Then think about these areas as places where an opportunity exists--but not for long--to correct past errors, reinvent the future, make things better, do it right for a change.

How should we then act on such an opportunity?

Two TPMCafe-folk have offered suggestions: BamaGirl in "The Perfect Opportunity" and progressivesouth in "Progressives: Are We Blowing a Katrina Moment?" As both point out--and I attempt to round out--these are red states with significant numbers of Democratic voters. This is a prize worth considering. . . .

To that end, I also urge you to take action to urge your own congresscritters to make sure that funds allocated to these areas are done so with proper fiscal controls, that contracts be allocated to local entities to the greatest extent possible so that local residents can join in the work of rebuilding their own communities, that they look for ways to improve (not gut) federal programs that are intended to assist those who are in need of just such a safety net.

Republicans have already jumped on the opportunities offered by Katrina and Rita to push their own agenda. We went through this after 9/11. It would speak to our own incompetence if we were to allow this to happen yet again.

[Modified from post at TPMCafe]


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