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A flood of tears

The aftermath of hurricane Katrina lays bare ugly truths about race and poverty in the United States. It's infuriating and bewildering, but mostly just plain sad.
 
 
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Will someone please just cry with me over so many dead and displaced and how the state and the government and the President doesn't seem to give a damn?

It's all so unbearably unnecessary. Yes, we couldn't stop the wind and the floods, but if troops hadn't been diverted to Iraq; if disaster funds hadn't been diverted to Iraq; if thousands of people in New Orleans weren't so dirt-poor that, end-of-the-month checks spent, they couldn't afford to get out of town ...

If any of these things, perhaps it could just be another disaster where we all chipped in and buried the unfortunate, mourned together and felt more connected to the living.

I'd been trying to figure out a way to talk about how Katrina relates to race and poverty and the war in Iraq. Why is there plenty of fingerpointing and head shaking, and even some money being sent in what one hopes is the right direction, but none of the real mourning I experienced after 9/11 and even after the tsunami hit in southeast Asia?

Joan Walsh, editor-in-chief at Salon, put into words what I had been writing and deleting. Everyone should read her piece, but for those of you who won't read the whole thing, here's the heart of it:

The death toll from Katrina is likely to be higher than 9/11, but most of its victims will be black and poor, and I doubt we'll wage a war on poverty and neglect to match the war on terror launched after al-Qaida struck -- and if we did, I doubt it would be any more effective.

Rachel Neumann is Rights & Liberties Editor at AlterNet.