Monday, June 19, 2006

Help Needed: Coalition Builders

Vision Fest, the East Village festival of avant-garde jazz, had a panel discussion on New Orleans Sat. prior to the evening concert. Many of the comments, though well received East of Ave. A, would be considered divisive and counter-productive throughout most of America.

One panelist predicted America is poised for large scale rioting on one hand versus a Fascist-state crack down on the other. He blamed the “Bush Oil Cartel” for pulling there management facilities out of New Orleans in the 1970’s despite his later admission that Napoleonic regulations at that time made it difficult to do business across Parish lines. Corporations were attacked, as was our involvement in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Much was said that was divisive and would push away would-be allies from Red State America. Instead of building coalitions, there was talk of large-scale demonstrations, the spectacle of which would make average constituents around the country more skeptical of the efficacy of spending to rebuild New Orleans. Most Americans are compassionate, but do not want to see their tax money go to organizations marching around with “Bush is Hitler” signs. Many panelists and people attending genuinely want to help the people of New Orleans rebuild. However, I have become convinced there are many on the left who want to keep New Orleans in a state of perpetual martyrdom.

After 9-11, the response was productive and unifying: we were not Republicans or Democrats, but Americans. That was productive. After Katrina, there was a mad dash on the part of the extreme left and their water-carriers in the media to assign blame. Horror stories peddled by the media, like that of snipers firing at medical helicopters, arguably cost lives by grounding needed emergency flights. That was not productive, and it’s the musicians and citizens of the Crescent City, who will suffer for such excesses.