Friday, September 02, 2005

Journal: There's something happenin' here...

...but what it is ain't exactly clear. As the news out of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast went from bad to worse, it was hard not to feel like I was watching some kind of moment in American history. It seemed like everybody felt that way, but nobody was able to describe it. Yesterday's NYT column by David Brooks is a good example. He cites some previous examples of how floods caused seismic changes in the political landscape, starting with the Johnstown Flood. About the current flooding, Brooks says:
What's happening in New Orleans and Mississippi today is a human tragedy. But take a close look at the people you see wandering, devastated, around New Orleans: they are predominantly black and poor. The political disturbances are still to come.

Anyone care to guess at what those political disturbances will be? Brooks stays vague, but hints that it's going to relate to the race and class inequalities made so painfully obvious by the flooding. CJR Daily's got it right:
We're still looking for some kind of analysis piece that examines this issue in depth, or perhaps an article that surveys the backgrounds of those affected. At the very least, those pieces that explore the now widespread looting or the sad and odorous fate of those who took shelter in the Superdome, need to clearly articulate the societal fissures (ones of race and class) that this flood has laid bare.

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