Out of Chaos, an Awakening
The images coming out of the Gulf Coast and New Orleans in particular have been nothing short of unfathomable, nightmarish visions of anarchy and misery, a ghoulish reality haunting our minds and lives. For what we see on our television sets is a devastation of humanity never before seen or experienced or felt within American shores. It is a surreal and up close glimpse of natural and human made destruction reserved almost exclusively for those peoples living in the underdeveloped nations of the south, those far removed from our gluttonous and privileged lives.
What we see right before our eyes no Hollywood movie could ever reproduce and no bestselling author could ever conjure up because what is transmitted into our monitors is real and tangible and historical, a region inside America utterly devastated, its citizens’ lives made barren and impotent by a catastrophe the most creative and troubled minds could never conjure up.
Human suffering unparalleled in American history, on a scale never before witnessed, with real human emotion and psychology and misery acting out for the world to see, has been thrust upon millions of us, decimating a once vibrant and colorful region, making hundreds of thousands of fellow Americans homeless and displaced, having become refugees from their own city, escaping toxic floods and government failure, left without worldly possessions, sojourning along America’s roads in search of futures and lives and lost family, destined to forever continue living in the indigence of their birth and the suffering the system has placed at their doorstep.
Many Americans watched in horror as New Orleans was rendered destroyed by forces natural and man made, a combination of 90 degree water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico acting as the catalyst for nature’s fury, the incompetent leadership of men small, weak and thoroughly inept, the under funding of barriers and levies, the misallocation of resources and priorities, warmongering greed, and the destruction of wetlands and natural barriers by the hands of man. In this gumbo of destruction thus arose a rare manifestation of violent decimation and suffering spawned not upon Haitians or Indonesians or Sudanese or Rwandans or Guatemalans or Indians or Iraqis, but rather by people born under the red, white and blue.
In the destruction of the Gulf Coast by Hurricane Katrina we witnessed first hand, if only vicariously, what it is like to live in the so called third world. The equivalent of a dozen 9/11s, Katrina brought the last remaining superpower to her knees, showing the world the sheer ineptitude of its highest leaders, the impotence of her power and the utter disregard placed upon the less fortunate by her ingrained system conditioned to run on the survival of the richest, where wealth determines happiness, survival and escape from hell and where only the exploiters of poverty and social engineering flourish.
A nation thinking herself invulnerable to Earth and her forces has been woken from her fantasy-filled, prescription-laced stupor of grandeur, our belief in American exceptionalism and omnipotence eviscerated, lying splintered along with thousands of Gulf Coast homes. Upon our eyes has been thrust the reality that we are no different than banana republics or mosquito coasts, third-world nations or lands swamped by corruption or tyranny. Americans have been slapped in the face by Katrina, forced to confront the vulnerability of our character and the impotence of our wealth, seeing the incompetence of our highest leaders and the ineptitude of our sacred government. For if “Red” China can evacuate half a million people from an oncoming typhoon, resulting in the death of ten people, and if “communist” Cuba regularly evacuates hundreds of thousands with every oncoming hurricane with no deaths, how can America fail when it is the greatest nation on Earth?
We have been confronted with the reality of crony, survival of the richest capitalism, a system where only those with money escape and thrive, and those without remain and perish. For years we are conditioned with this capitalistic fiction, the American Dream it is called, a fallacy that creates fantasy-filled thoughts out of socially engineered subsistence, fabricating worker bees and soldier ants out of human flesh, molding automatons and slaves from the womb, forever destined to serve the exploiters and subjugators of humanity, those Bush calls his base and we call capitalists and exploiters of human beings.
Katrina has, through her winds and surges, opened America to a reality hidden from view and whitewashed throughout society. It exposes the charade of separate but equal, of colorblindness, of social equality and of vanished racism. It tore to shreds the illusion of the American Dream, of one America, of capitalism being a most benign economic system. New Orleans was, once again, the historical marker reminding us that as long as civilization has existed, as long as man has lived, hierarchy of power, wealth, and class has always lived alongside us, dividing the haves from the have nots.
Third World America
New Orleans was a giant Titanic, a ship divided by class, where money assured salvation and indigence guaranteed suffering and death. With wealth comes escape, the means to leave the coming natural onslaught, the opportunity to survive. Through indigence opportunity does not exist. New Orleans and its humanitarian crisis offered proof that black and white America remain divided socioeconomically, separated by a mile-high wall of class warfare, racism and a gulf of socio-engineered destinies.
Since before formation of the Republic, where black slaves were considered animals and one’s skin color determined freedom or misery, being the arbiter of fate, black America has been trailing behind its white counterparts. With emancipation did not come equality, for slaves were many years behind, possessing nothing but the clothes on their backs and years of hard labor behind them. America was run by whites, owned by whites, operated by whites and determined by whites. The entire spectrum of the mechanisms of society was controlled by whites for the benefit of whites.
Institutionalized whiteness permeated, conscious and subconscious racism lingered and, with blacks creeping out of cesspools of slavery into a world they only saw through the periphery, entering a society that had been denied them for centuries, lacking standing, education and political power, a culture white and homogenous placed monolithic barriers to entry. If slavery was no longer a viable way to exploit free labor and cheap production, then society would strive to achieve the next best thing: the exploitation of blacks through the demons of capitalism. America was white America, after all, and blacks were not welcome.
It can be said with certainty that America was first made wealthy from the slave labor of African-Americans. Many corporations of today and many of the wealthiest families that go back centuries can attribute their wealth and profit to the exploitation and free labor of blacks who for centuries toiled in blood, sweat and tears to enrich America’s past, and present, oligarchy. Much of America’s wealth, first accumulated over centuries of slavery, was born in sin, through the death of millions of blacks and the lost destinies of millions more whose white masters smeared the whips of capitalism with the blood of the ancestors to today’s African-Americans.
Laws, regulations, society and American psychology favored the Anglo world. Every step backwards blacks took and every barrier they ran into was because of whites. So established and ingrained was the Anglo community throughout America, and so behind was the black community after emancipation, that the playing field was never equal, becoming a cesspool for blacks and an exploitable profit-making machine for whites. Generation after generation of blacks have suffered from a playing field that has never had a semblance of equality, condemning millions from cradle to grave to linger in utter indigence, forced to live in American Bantustans called inner cities, robbed of happiness and futures, dependent on the crumbs and bones thrown their way by a society eager to make eyes blind and ears deaf to a reality confronting America that Hurricane Katrina has made to surface from the sewers of New Orleans.
African-Americans after the end of slavery were 200 years behind their white counterparts, possessing little and owning nothing, undereducated and destitute, forced to jump a plethora of barriers, forced to live in a society where they were not welcome. For 100 years after winning their freedom African-Americans remained servile entities dependent on the meager wages, jobs and opportunities given them by white America. They owned no land and no business, forcing them to work for new masters under slave-like conditions. The name had changed from slave to laborer, but the result was the same. Still lagging decades if not centuries behind their Anglo counterparts, confronting societal racism and government indifference, the black community never really escaped slavery. While technically free, slave wages and slave income meant slave-like conditions. Without opportunity there was no escape, without escape there was no future.
It took another 100 years for black political power to grow to where civil rights could be afforded them, yet in that time African-Americans still could not escape the tremendous disadvantage slavery had engendered and racism had furthered. Those neighborhoods whites no longer cared to live in became black reservations. Jobs whites and European immigrants no longer wanted were instead given to blacks, the lowest end of the totem pole called American society. The disadvantages remain to this day, as exemplified by New Orleans. Little, if anything, has changed.
With no work in rural America blacks migrated to the large cities, afforded, because of low income and racism, no other housing except those inside the ghetto, the black concentration camp, designed to subjugate, exploit, hinder and incarcerate, implemented so white America would not have to be bothered by the black ‘plague’. Throwing away the keys to black neighborhoods, offering no meaningful employment, eviscerating any semblance of a worthy education, white America pretended the ghetto did not exist, even as millions lived in squalor, without opportunity, devoid futures and a chance for improved livelihoods.
By offering only slave wage jobs, though in very short supply with very large demand, thus making wages decrease, by incapacitating and making impotent education from pre-school through high school, by introducing fire-water, drugs and weapons into the inner city, by making high unemployment levels where blacks live, by offering not an ounce of compassion or opportunity, America’s government, and the elite that control it, have destroyed millions of lives, most teeming with abilities and talents on par with their white counterparts.
Social engineering has assured capitalistic and elite America that blacks remain far behind their white counterparts. Relegated to the slums and ghetto, forced to live in poverty, trapped in an almost inescapable vicious cycle of indigence, blacks thus become the slave of the capitalists, forced to scrap a living from the meager slave wage they are paid, forced to compete among each other for a small number of jobs, lacking the education necessary to move ahead in life and the resources to escape the internment camp the elite have shoved them into.
Without education there is pure ignorance and lack of knowledge. Without livable wages there is only slavery, living paycheck to paycheck, indebted more each day, forced to work innumerable hours for little happiness. Without opportunity thousands of blacks are forced to join the military, seen as the only escape, caste drafted into America’s armed forces, sent to foreign lands to become the cannon fodder of corporate greed. Without employment and education two million black men find themselves imprisoned in the largest prison system the world has ever seen, locked away for petty crimes, never to be seen again, products of environment and social engineering.
Black America is Third World America, exemplified by the devastation we have all witnessed in New Orleans. To sojourn into the inner city is to take a trip into Haiti, Sudan, Congo or Niger, a magic carpet ride into the third world, where poverty pervades, class warfare emanates and futures are lost. The ghetto is a reservation where blacks are to remain, surrounded by invisible barriers and walls seen only by the people residing within them. The inner city is to be forgotten, a place we pretend does not exist. We fail to hear its cries and see its tears and smell its rotting infrastructure, preferring to reside inside our white picket fences, believing in the masquerade of the American dream, where every human being is born equal, enjoying the comforts of living in an equal playing field, with the resources necessary to escape the wrath of a monstrous hurricane.
To George Bush, we are All New Orleans' Blacks
It is those, such as George Bush, born with silver spoons and porcelain dishes and gold-plated toilets that prefer living in denial rather than confronting the reality that is the other America. It is they who lack the empathy or concern for those less fortunate than themselves, living delusions of grandeur, hypnotized by the Almighty Dollar and lacking all precepts of human understanding. It is people like George Bush who, upon the calamity of New Orleans, when the utter devastation and levels of suffering could be seen by us all, prefer to engage in guitar lessons in San Diego or birthday cake celebrations in Arizona or rounds of golf in California or political speeches and fundraisers.
It is people like George Bush, selfish, greed infested, morally corrupt and rotten to the core, who under fund barriers and levies experts have told them not to ignore. It is people like George Bush who for political reasons goes to Florida two days after a hurricane for photo ops with his brother Jeb, undoubtedly to help in the governor’s re-election campaign, but fails to attend to the worst natural disaster in America’s history, for days doing nothing but searching for ways to protect himself from the criticism his feeble, inept and incompetent leadership help engender.
When thousands of blacks lie stranded for days on the roofs of their houses, when thousands more have to live days in the filth and decay of the Superdome and the Convention Center, when it takes four days for aid to finally arrive, when the US government lets anarchy arrive and thrive in New Orleans, when Bush is more concerned about photo-ops than in helping people, when New Orleans, with mostly a black population, is allowed to descend into chaos, Kayne West’s comments on national television that Bush does not care about black people seems appropriate, for Bush is a corporate owned lackey, a product of elite upbringing, lacking humanity and empathy for his fellow man, concerned more for profit than people, his image over life, his legacy over that of New Orleans.
What haunts us upon looking at a city such as New Orleans, whose buildings survived Katrina but not its under funded barriers and levies, is that an American city, the Big Easy, withstood Katrina’s powerful winds but not human greed. It shows us that more concern was given Bush’s failed war in Iraq than an American city at the heart of black America. It shows us that had the levies and barriers been properly funded, and had Bush not diverted monies away for his little quagmire in Iraq, perhaps New Orleans would never had been flooded, saving thousands of lives and billions of dollars in costs. A few hundred million dollars was taken from the funding of barriers and levies and given towards the war in Iraq, risking the lives of thousands for the legacy of the Bush administration and the profits of the corporate world.
Through the greed of the warmongers an entire American city now lies in ruins, its hundreds of thousands of citizens dead or made refugees wondering the wastelands of America, sent to live in gymnasiums and projects and borrowed homes. The fact that most displaced people are black is not by coincidence, for Bush has risked not his life but that of many, many thousands. The administration knew full well the dangers of a major hurricane hitting New Orleans but instead of helping to secure the city’s safety they gambled that the remoteness of a devastating hurricane hitting the Big Easy was so slim that the risk was worth taking. All for a war in Iraq that has only succeeded in making America a target of more people, making us less secure in our own cities.
Through Bush’s criminal negligence tens of thousands are dead, rotting corpses floating in New Orleans’ streets. Remember, it was the levies and water barriers breaking that caused the vast percentage of damage, not Katrina’s powerful winds. It was under funded barriers and levies that broke that killed so many people. Bush cared nothing for New Orleans, as shown by his criminal procrastination in mobilizing America. How many Americans have died under George W. Bush since he took office? How many have been poor, minority or both?
George Bush not only does not care about black people, he does not care about common people. We, the masses, are nothing to Bush and the elite that control him. We are expendable peons in their game of profit over people, power over freedom and greed over happiness. New Orleans’ citizens were left to suffer and die for days while Bush golfed, rock and rolled and ate cake.
The worst President America has ever known thus continues his reign of error over these United States of America. How much more incompetence are we willing to put up with? How much more error leading to death can we stand? When will enough be enough? In the Big Easy can we see third world America, how the elite treat it, and a reality that has stunned millions of us. Perhaps one day we will steer away from the course we have been living in for too long. Perhaps one day we will see the damage our history has done to the lives of millions of fellow Americans whose only crime is being born black.
Perhaps, if we one day open our eyes, we will see the charade that is the American Dream, and that we live in many America’s, not just one. We might awaken one day to see the injustices and the inequality and the lost opportunities inflicted on millions, as well as the crimes of criminals and murderers and exploiters of human flesh that continue steering us towards eventual degeneration and self-implosion. The devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina has woken us all to truth and reality at the dawn of 21st century America.
The question is, will we wake up and act, or will we fall back asleep, pretending reality does not exist, continuing to live in our delusions and denials, leaving millions to continued destituteness of life, liberty and happiness. If we cannot see what Bush and his kind have done to New Orleans, then perhaps we never will, until that day when the corporate world, and the elite that control it, come knocking on our own door. Maybe, some day, we will all be the black citizens of New Orleans, swimming in toxic cocktails of waste and water, dehydrating for lack of water, hungry for days on end, forced to endure anarchy and chaos, living on the street, seeing death, destruction and hell on Earth.
Maybe, some day, we will experience what it is like for an elitist, corporatist dominated government to abandon your city and your kind, leaving you to fend for yourself, sacrificing thousands of your neighbors for greed, for power, for profit, forgetting that you exist and that you are in desperate need of help, seeing you as an expendable entity less worthy than the almighty Dollar. Maybe then, if we are lucky, we will realize that what we believe to be has been a fallacy, that what we thought was reality is but a charade, and that in the end, to the elite that own us, we are all black citizens of New Orleans.