The hurricane that hit New Orleans is threatening to expose again the sad inability of this country to do anything particularly well.
We argue incessantly about who is “responsible” for destruction in New Orleans. The Republicans seethe about the requirement that government help out, because then they have to admit a role for government that cannot be better subsumed by the forces of the market.
Democrats whine about the misery, taking time out from their shopping trips and spa visits to sanctimoniously mouth “there but for the ……” except that they are incapable of mouthing the G word. They fret about the inability of the government to relieve the misery, not thinking for a moment that the task will be Herculean and will not lend itself well to quick fixes. The main goal of the Democrats is to make political hay, pointing out the flaws of the Administration’s response, but never actually offering any concrete suggestions on how to improve.
Neither side really wishes to talk about the truth to the populace. The truth of the matter is the world is changing. We have a spoiled and needy populace that demands every assurance that nothing will ever happen to them. People go and build cities below sea level and are surprised by a capricious nature that slams into them.
The Republicans are biting their lips desperately wishing to say that rewards follow decisions, but the political outcry from truth would be too great. Democrats wish to convince people that, if only they were in charge, the pain and suffering would be lessened or even prevented.
In the wings, waiting patiently, is the cruel and heartless nature. A living planet that rips and tears, bloody of tooth and claw, that does not see us as the owners of the planet, but as squatters in its realm. When nature acts, mankind had best get out of the way, and pray, pray, pray.
We will probably repair the harm to New Orleans. We have an incredibly stupid habit of rebuilding in flood plains (usually with Federal money). But when we do this, I think that it would behoove us to remember the walls of Ninevah.
Things fall, and sometimes they just aren’t worth rebuilding.