Saturday, September 03, 2005


It truly is astounding, the political merry-go-round blame game spinning at the speed of sound following the recent visit by one Katrina, possibly the worst huricane catastrophe to ever strike the United States.

There appear to be two dominant views of the human catastrophe in New Orleans: the personal and the bureaucratic. The victims and those who empathize with them are expressing a collective outrage at the powers-that-be for the appallingly belated response to the many-sided crisis. The Bush cronies at the helms of FEMA and Homeland Security, rather predictably, are unable to accept responsibility for their complete lack of leadership; they talk about the weather.

What will be the long-term effects of this disaster on American politics? It might seem that ineptitude among Republican leaders at the federal level might lead to Democratic victories in 2006 and 2008. Or possibly that the mistakes of Democratic leaders might lead to Republican victories.

The problem, as I see it, is one of class and race, underclass and overclass, and not left and right. Thus, what will be debated will be irreconcilable views of left and right, instead of the injustice and trauma of overclass indifference to the plight of the expanding underclass.

The Republicans have not succeeded so far in dismantling all of the New Deal, but they are at the helm and steering us into the flood waters of late nineteenth-century oligarchy. The catastrophe in New Orleans is analogous to a garment factory fire, with doors locked and windows barred.