Monday, December 19, 2005

Last night's 60 Minutes episode about the Gretna bridge crossing incident -- where Gretna police turned away New Orleaneans who had walked out of the ravaged city seeking help -- crystallized a couple of things for me. First, after reading a spectacularly idiotic discussion on another site, I've come down firmly on the "never go to Gretna or give them a drop of business again" side of the argument. The People of Gretna have applauded the heartless and bigoted actions of the police department and continue to rationalize the action as "protection." Well, I've had enough of this "protecting your communities" bullshit: they were trying to keep out citizens of the state of Louisiana, who, like all citizens, have the right to travel freely between any and all points. There was no lockdown or state of emergency that would enable the Gretna border to be sealed. No, they just wanted to keep the niggers out, and the yard signs and applause of Gretna citizens sends a clear message to the rest of the country, and please do not insult my or anyone else's intelligence by trying to claim otherwise. If there are good people and worthwhile businesses in Gretna that don't follow the racist party line, then bully for them: urge them to speak up and assure them you'll be back when they do. Second: here's the message that really bothers me. In the midst of trying to convince the rest of the country to remember us, and to take seriously the near-total devastation of a major American city, here was yet another prime-time exhibit of neanderthal assholery and smugly ignorant bigotry. If Louisiana wants the rest of America to take it seriously, and if Louisiana wants the federal Government to to pony up 30 billion dollars for recovery, then it better stop acting like King Ripple of the Hobo Jungle and start acting like a grownup. I mean more than just keeping the legislature from their usual smash-n-grab budget and bribery tactics, and more than just keeping the culture of corruption gagged and tied up in the trunk next to the hooker. I mean putting an end to the centuries-long idea that Louisiana is place separate and distinct from America and resigning our role as America's Court Jester. The pride at our petty political corruption, the willingness to be seen as drunk and uncontrollable, the kingdom of misrule, all make the calls for help and the demands to be taken seriously ring a little more hollow. Why should the rest of the country take us seriously when we've insisted for two hundred years that they do no such thing? Why should we be considered part of America after insisting for generations that we are not? Even now, I hear angry contradictions from Louisianians: Anyone not in New Orleans or the affected areas should have no influence over where and how to rebuild the city, but they should pay for it since New Orleans is, after all, a part of their country. Hey, we need your money to recovery from this unfair blow, and we deserve it, oh, and did you see how them jigs ran off the bridge when I fired the shotgun over their heads? Well, we are a part of America. And the rest of the country needs to help us rebuild just like we should help any other part of the country in need. But we need to stop this circus of dipshits we've let rage for three hundred years: the state bond commission needs to be told, one way or another, that their back-home pork projects are off the table while the state's available recovery funds are properly allocated -- and if we need to bring in some grownups to do it, just like we had to bring in grownups to try and sort out the galactic clusterfuck created by the NOLA school board, then that's what we have to do. The citizens and police of Gretna need to face loud, public, and universal condemnation until it can be driven into their little white heads just why what they did was wrong. Those people who need FEMA trailers should be able to move into a temporary park without more hooting and rock throwing from the locals. Maybe Mardi Gras should be scaled back a little this year. Maybe the fucking Cotillion of Dolts needs to take a back seat for a change. Anger is called for, yes, true. Human incompetence and error helped turn Katrina (and Rita) from a mere disaster into an apocalypse. Be angry. But remember that the tinfoil crown doesn't really make you a king, of misrule or anything else, and if you think the rest of America isn't taking you seriously, reflect on two hundred years of concerted effort to be taken lightly, and the inevitable consequences.


Blogger Ian McGibboney said...

Well said, Greg. Everyone has to step up now.

12/19/2005 01:14:00 PM  

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