The Dillard Doctrine

Urban Conservative Commentary on Politics & Life

Getting the Ground Truth

It takes a big person to admit they were wrong about something-especially when they’ve been defending it enthusiastically.

Last year, I wrote a piece in my Yahoo blog called “‘Trina,” which was a kind of defense of the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina, and other random musings about the events of August, 2005. I sincerely believed-at the time-that a lot of what I said was right….and I probably offended a lot of people.

This afternoon, I had the opportunity to go out and see some of the areas still devastated by the storm, two years later. I didn’t take the commercial “dog and pony show” tour (in fact, I was told that taking pictures was frowned on, so I didn’t take any).

In my original writing, I was completely wrong.

Some of my original points, and my views now:

Ok, yeah FEMA’s (and the government at large’s) response could have been better. I think we all know that by now. But…[i]f the government had moved all the resources to respond to the hurricane into New Orleans before the storm, guess what…..they’d have been underwater with the rest of the city.”

This might actually still hold some truth…not sure. True or not, the risk of having all the response equipment destroyed would probably not-or maybe shouldn’t-have outweighed the reality that unfolded.

“Personally, I don’t see what race had to do with it. I think if anything, the problem was that neither Louisiana or Mississippi had the infrastructure to respond to a disaster of that nature. Truth be told, I don’t know who does. I don’t think we should all get spun up and say that the response was slow because the majority of the Gulf Coast residents were black. Black, white, or otherwise….the entire Gulf Coast got hit, not just the “black” parts.”

Okay, no one has an infrastructure that could withstand a Katrina-like event (though California is handing those fires relatively well). But the contrast between what I see looking from my hotel room and the “ground truth” outside of downtown is like night and day. Downtown’s been rebuilt, revitalized…and, from what I see, has kept to itself. Meanwhile, the only thing I can think of to compare to how other parts of the city look…is to places in, say, Iraq. And THOSE places are where the black people were (“were” ’cause they can’t afford to come back). If the influx of money that actually showed up when the casinos reopened and when the Saints/Hornets returned (or return, in the case of the Hornets) actually got here…where did it go?

I’m as ardent a supporter of the current administration as any (as if I needed to say that). But the fact that something like Katrina could happen in our country, and that two years later, it can still look the same as I can imagine it did the day of, really bothers me. We got this one wrong, we failed ourselves on this one….and what’s worse, we still are. God knows I support what we’re doing in Iraq fully….but if we can’t win over the hearts and minds of our own citizens-unless their hearts and minds will benefit us in some way-then some of the problems we’re having overseas aren’t surprising.

What happened here was truly a disaster and a tragedy. And while there’s some semblance of normalcy, the fact the the wounds left on this city are still gaping is even worse.




Written by Coby Dillard

October 31, 2007 at 10:53 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

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