As I finish up this edition of the paper, hopelessly  behind schedule for my printing deadline -- in fact it's been gone -- it dawns on me that I've been pretty preoccupied by Hurricane Katrina for the past month. And as I end this run of Katrina-related articles, I realize that I haven't thought about too many other issues for awhile. That can be scary because the panic runs through you that it's your Katrina thing and no one else's.
      At some point during something like this, you have to make the decision to spend time with the story even if no one else is. Is it still a good story if no one else reads it? Does a tree make a sound as it falls in the forest if no one is there to hear it? In both instances, I would have to say yes.
      Hurricane Katrina has revealed so much about our nation and its people. As the veneer of our national public image was washed away by Katrina, it showed that the image and the substance don't really match. The image      that we broadcast around the world is one of Mickey Mouse, NBA stars, the luxury of the rich and famous, and our military might. It is a show of our  "invincible superiority."
      Katrina revealed another side of the United States to the world. It revealed a nation with an ever-growing      poverty-stricken population. Instead of the Condoleezza Rices, they saw African Americans stranded on roof tops and at convention centers and sports arenas for days and days without receiving any relief. These people      were just next door to all of us within our global village. Instead of seeing a National Football League game where the opponents push each other across the field, they saw New Orleans residents being pushed back across      the bridge spanning the Mississippi River by sheriff's deputies from Jefferson Parish.
      What the world saw was that the United States wasn't invincible. It saw that we couldn't come to the rescue      -- and in many ways, still can't -- of one of our most historic cities. As we have expended our military might around the world, as we have become the world's peacekeepers, as we have expanded the American empire, we have become weak at home. Just as the Romans became corrupted from within and let its civilization decay before outside forces descended upon it, the world saw that same decay in the fabric of American life. The sense of community, the sense of citizenship, the sense that one part hurting is the whole hurting, just wasn't reflected in the actions of the federal government. It seemed that the federal government sat back watching people trying to bail themselves out, while they waited for the time to provide money for those who would develop New Orleans after the "weak" had perished. Rugged individualism does not a community or a country make.
      I could only imagine the terror that the New Orleanians who remained behind felt as they waited and then realized that help in any form was not coming to them any time soon. Reporters could immediately come to the scene so that we could helpless watch their agony at the Superdome, yet food supplies and transportation out of that hell on earth didn't arrive for days and days afterwards. Those kinds of conditions brought the worst part of human nature out of people.
      In a lively discussion with a friend the other day about the reopening of the Superdome for business as usual, we concluded that there should at least be some permanent memorial to those who suffered and died in Katrina placed at the Superdome, much like there will be a permanent memorial to the victims of 9/11 at the site of "Ground Zero." The people who died and suffered at both sites were the victims of terror. We must have a memorial so that we do not forget.
      One can also not help but be inspired by the many acts of mercy and kindness that occurred as a result of Katrina. Whether it's the volunteers from across the country pouring their efforts into the rebuilding of New Orleans through groups like Common Ground or the taking in of evacuees by a church in another state, these      acts of kindness reaffirm my belief in the goodness of every day people. It is these people who have opened up their homes, their churches, and their hearts who represent the best that this country has to offer. It is them      and not the rich and famous who make this country great, who make me proud to be an American. Oh, why can't they be the face of America overseas?
      In 20-40 years, American history books will reflect -- depending upon who is writing the history -- this episode as one of the low points of our history. It will look at the current administration as one with blind ambition overseas, while being incapable of making government work for anything more than spying on its citizens. It will go down as one of the worst administrations in American history, if not the worst.
      Katrina goes to show you that unless you believe government can come to the rescue of its people, that government does have a role in providing for the well-being of its people -- or at least a real opportunity for well-being -- then it is incapable of operating the machinery of government for the well-being of its people, no matter how competent or incompetent its managers might be. The Bush administration did not believe in the role of government. Now the citizens of New Orleans and all of us will be paying the price for generations to come.

September 20, 2006
stories/columns


* Literary Divide: 
It's our foreign policy, stupid!
by Dr. Paul Barrows





U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce-WI Chapter,
by Heidi M. Pascual

(www.asianwisconzine.com)

*
Simple Things: We are here,
by Lang Kenneth Haynes

*
House Republicans finish rounds of immigrant bashing,
by Salvador Carranza

*
Politicas de Hoy: La Arcadia de Wisconsin,
por Alfonso Zepeda-Capistran

*
Voices: Regression,
by Dr. Jean Daniels





*
An interview with NUL Pres. Marc Morial: My beloved New Orleans,
by Jonathan Gramling

*
New Orleans DA Eddie Jordan interview,
by Jonathan Gramling

* Latino Culture Fests at Vera Court & Bridge Lake Waunona Neighborhoods,
by Jonathan Gramling

* Campus-Community Connection
-
Keeping our children safe (Part 1),
by Pamela Pfeffer






*
Grassroots Leadership College's Spanish program,
by Laura Salinger

*
Cuatro jefes de la policia asesinados en N. Leon,
por Elda Gonzalez

* 100 Black Men's Back-to-school Picnic
by Jonathan Gramling






*
2nd annual Mexican Independence Day,
by Jonathan Gramling

*
Random Order: Me, her & him,
by Tracie Gilbert

* Mexico's latest insurgent revolt,
by Roberto Rodriguez

*
Bringing India to UW,
by Ramya Kapadia
VOL  I NO. 14                            September 20, 2006
Cover Story:
Connecting to the people
Attorney Victor Arellano takes to the airwaves
Reflections/ Jonathan Gramling
Thoughts about Katrina
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