Wednesday, April 29, 2009

from Jerry W. Ward's The Katrina Papers: A Journal of Trauma and Recovery:

One of the odd legacies of Katrina is excessive interest in everything and in thinking that all events in the world (including the antics of the rich and vulgar) are interrelated.

E's words from yesterday. An excerpt:
...let's take the stimulus bill.

When you really distill down what has happened, you basically had a bunch of ultra-conservative Southern governors and senators screaming bloody murder because the Obama Administration was giving them money that they could use to improve institutions, infrastructure, and services. While conservatives of course would argue that improved institutions, infrastructure, and services represent larger more intrusive government, the reality is that these are the poorest and least developed states in the country with huge populations of impoverished residents and minorities saddled with the most institutionally dysfunctional justice systems in the industrialized world.

When viewed using this lens, the resurgence of the extremist rump of the GOP has absolutely nothing to do with an ideological opposition to government spending, pork, or the national debt. Instead, it is more indicative of a long-standing ideological refusal by wealthy Southern elites to do anything at all that might address the really messed up dynamics of race and class that are still disproportionately omnipresent throughout the old Confederacy compared to other regions of the country.

The attitude exemplified by Yglesias and Silver reaction to Perry's ridiculous secessionist rhetoric wasn't about bolstering an ongoing meme about how Southern politicians were working against the interests of their own constituents and how to help the residents on the ground that are fighting for reform from within.

Instead, it was about how obstructionist these politicians are and how best to usher their states clean out of the union.

That anything resembling secession would spell doom for the huge population already bearing the disproportionate negative impact of being born in the wrong region of the country didn't seem to cross their minds.

Rather than discussing how the mechanics of secession might work to the Democrats' advantage, I think it would be much more helpful to the majority of people from Texas, the rest of the old Confederacy, and to the nation at-large if progressives instead concentrated on how best to enact policies that will improve conditions in the nation's most at-risk communities and how best to organize for grassroots progressive reform from within.

The whole pervasive good riddance attitude is something that people in the South have become really sensitive to, consciously or not, and it alienates many that otherwise would really benefit from and support progressive public policy.
Back to Professor Ward's "all events in the world are interconnected":

It is a curse. In contrast, memory is the blessing. Memory pertains to the already accomplished, to the future that has a past tense. One does not have to search for yet another folder in the mind in which to store new information and trivia.

So when Dambala asks about the "eerie calmness" that has settled over the NOLA blogpocheh, I must reply to recent events with some more of Ward's words:

I have not exploited this "interest" as fully as I might have under different conditions, because problems with disappearing identity, feelings of isolation, anger, depression and unpredictable moments of deep anxiety, panic and weird physical sensations have priority. One feels condemned to motion on a Moebius strip where progress is ultimately a return to a starting point. Contradiction assumes more significance in one's daily life, and curiosity - well, curiosity kills cats and prompts writers to pay attention. Give attention to details that people less hooked on languages are free to ignore.

We're into our fourth year of post-8-29-05 insanity. Cracks in our everyday armor are still going to appear when we least expect it.

Hell, if we didn't have all the myriad festivals in our calendars down here, we would probably implode. Amazing to think that all that keeps many of us from going postal is some live music and beer, but there you go.

We'll be back on our horses soon enough.

1 comment:

Cold Spaghetti said...

Hear, hear for our festival schedule... no doubt it's helping us put things in perspective.