Grim and grimmer.

I think this is going to be my last word about the news of the past week — at least until my next word — if only because it is making me crazy in ways I can’t quite put my finger on. At least, until today. Brian Dickerson’s column in the Freep today did exactly what a good column should do — it made a point I hadn’t heard made before, and made me say, “Exactly.”

But if the geographic and meteorological particulars of Louisiana’s emergency are outside Michiganders’ experience, its political dynamic is startlingly familiar. The essential ingredients for mayhem — a black underclass isolated by poverty and substandard education; a local leadership void exacerbated by federal neglect; an outmanned police force unable to communicate with itself or its counterparts in neighboring jurisdictions — already have been assembled in Detroit.

Add any disaster of comparable scope — a terrorist attack, for example, or an earthquake that leaves most homes and commercial structures uninhabitable — and it is easy to foresee our own region unraveling in precisely the same way, its mobile middle classes scattered to sanctuaries in Traverse City or Toronto as the black city writhes in unrelieved agony.

What Detroiter watching New Orleans’ freshman mayor could not imagine Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick cast in the same role, raging profanely from exile about the indifference of white Washington bureaucrats?

And I just wrote about five more paragraphs about that, but just deleted them. What’s the point? If it happens under a presidency like this one, or another like it, we’re just screwed.

Also, you should read John Scalzi’s “Being Poor.” If you don’t get it then, well, there’s no hope.

Let’s lighten up.

Did you know there were gay car enthusiasts? I never thought about it. Hey sport — nice bumpers.

Posted at 10:04 pm in Uncategorized |

5 responses to “Grim and grimmer.”

  1. mary said on September 8, 2005 at 11:38 am

    Here in LA I think we all saw what could happen if “the big one” hit. A good sized earthquake would leave us without water, power, infrastructure and communication. I remember going to an earthquake preparedness meeting a few years ago, and a guy from the Red Cross described a scenario that I found extreme at the time. It was essentially the story that unfolded in NO. The looters, the snipers, the waiting for help; I thought he was exaggerating for effect. Our freshman mayor, our isolated poor neighborhoods and our tendency to vote blue could make us the next New Orleans.

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  2. Nance said on September 8, 2005 at 12:43 pm

    Well, exactly, Mary. Which is why I was so infuriated — and continue to be — by the reaction from not only the feds, but their apologists, too: “Your local officials should have taken care of this.”

    Fine, they should have. But when it becomes obvious that they didn’t, that the worst-case scenario has arrived, then it’s the feds’ turn to step in, and quickly. Michigan’s only narrowly blue, but Detroit doesn’t even have a token GOP presence, at least in the city. I’m sure they’d be in the same pickle.

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  3. mary said on September 8, 2005 at 1:26 pm

    I don’t know why I keep watching the Today show. I just get annoyed. This morning Haley Barbour, former chairman of the Republican National Committee and current governor of Mississippi, talked about how great the federal help has been for HIS state. He said he couldn’t speak for Louisiana, but things were just ducky feds-wise in his state.

    Can’t wait to see what Trent Lott rebuilds, can you? Wonder if he’ll apply for an SBA loan.

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  4. JRG said on September 9, 2005 at 11:35 pm

    The Scalzi piece is a gem. Exactly how much of a gem it is is made apparent at, where the author seems to appropriate this material as her own and adds a lot of unfortunate items to the list. Not only are the other items not as clean as the original list, but they were added to the bottom. She didn’t know to end with the item that made the piece connect to the events in New Orleans. Next time I’ll read the original and skip the trackbacks.

    Thanks for pointing us toward Scalzi’s piece.

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  5. Nance said on September 10, 2005 at 9:21 am

    Wow. Some people are not only shameless, but tone-deaf as well.

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