I saw the Brian Williams NBC report tonight where he said if America doesn’t start looking at its issues with class, race and the environment then journalists who covered Katrina have failed to do their jobs. So he can start packing.
He also interviewed Michael Eric Dyson, author of Come Hell or High Water, who told Williams Americans have missed an opportunity this past year to start talking about the issues of race, poverty and classism that were so undeniably thrust upon us a year ago this week.
You have to wonder what killed that conversation. It was just common sense in September last year when Senator Barack Obama said
“Indeed, one of the heartening things about this crisis has been the degree to which the outrage has come from across the political spectrum; across races; across incomes.”
It seemed so at the time, like there would have to be a reason for the sacrifice, that something good would have to come out of it, for the sake of ourselves. Now some have blamed the victims, others have moved on, some never cared at all, and Brian Williams is wondering whither the outrage, now that we are made wise by the terrible events we saw play out in front of us, where is the informed and substantial discourse, the progress, the change, the meaning of it all? What were the lives lost to Katrina if not dues? These poor Americans paid their dues, their suffering is moral capital, how we spend that will be our redemption. That’s what I want, to feel better.
Meanwhile, you remember this:
That lost soul had lain for five days until the smell of putrefaction led another lost soul to cover the corpse with blankets and a tarpaulin weighed down with bricks. That’s dignity.
“A model wears a look from the Imitation of Christ spring 2006 collection, Friday Sept. 9, 2005, during Fashion Week in New York. The fashion line aims to ‘transform undesirables into desirables;’ in other words, to restore old pieces of clothing into beautiful, fashionable new ones.”
Things America should be talking about all right, line ’em up. Did you know undesirables with psychiatric disabilities were barred from shelters, exluded during evacuation, refused rescue and relief aid? The known depressed, bi-polar and schizophrenic victims of Katrina were lost and inappropriately institutionalized. They weren’t allowed food and water even when food and water was made available.
I wonder how America will ever have this conversation, well it’s a hard row to hoe but whatever your race you’re eligible for this one, we’ll just have to wait til they haul your kid away.
Michael Dyson says Americans should keep looking at Katrina pictures because of how they make us feel. I believe he is right, what you feel is the truth.
He was talking about these photos:
While the real image haunting America is that of our Queen Mother Fatcat:
Don’t tell me that cat got your tongue.