I've gotten to know enough Republicans in the last couple of years to know that most are decent people, they send their kids to college, keep their houses clean, and for the most part even support the right to choose.
The northeastern myth that all Republcans are vicious and dumb is as wrong as the southern myth that all liberals are soft and dumb.
Since many of the Republicans I've met are southerners, many of them practice Southern Hospitality, which I am happy to report (and had forgotten that) is alive and well, and something a lot of northerners could learn to practice, whether or not I share their politics.
The point is, we can and must get along with these people, even if we don't agree on many things. They have their beliefs about what is right, and those beliefs aren't incompatible with ours, they're just different.
But there's something else going on in Washington these days, the Bush Republicans are not like these people. When they can get Condoleezza Rice to say that racism wasn't part of the debacle of New Orleans, it's just gone too damn far for me. New Orleans has always had the shame of race, it was obvious from the first days I lived there in 1973, that it's a strictly divided place, divided by every metric of humanity, with race being the primary one.
We got the government we deserve, all of us, not just the Republicans. If we're going to eschew blame, let's not blame people who, like us, voted against someone they didn't think would be a good president. There were ample reasons to think that Gore and Kerry would not have been good for our country.
If we have to blame anyone, let's take the blame ourselves. We thought we could get by without getting involved. If ever it was obvious that we must get involved, now is that time. First there are people to help, so many, that we must all help. Then there's a city to rebuild, and that's going to require a shift in thinking about the environment. There's no maybe about it. On Meet The Press yesterday, a panel of people who clearly know what they're talking about said that New Orleans's present is the future for all coastal cities. A rising ocean level has the same effect for coastal cities as dropping land level (which is what happened in New Orleans). We have to change our way of life if we want New York, Boston, Houston, Miami, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles to survive. And that's true of every coastal city in every country, not just the United States.
Luckily, as we approach these crises, we have the perfect new technology for working together over large distances, and people who read this site are experts in that technology. Weblogs and podcasts make communication possible in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago. The age of cheap oil and easy ignorance are over. We must deal with these problems now.
Today's New Orleans may be the first virtual city, and what a great city to be distributed, not the bad stuff, but the good. It's a city of contrasts -- abject poverty contrasted with great music, food and literature. Les bon temps, jambalaya, crawfish, lagniappe and Ignatius Reilly. The spirit of New Orleans is something to celebrate, to cherish, to love, to keep.
# Posted by Dave Winer on 9/5/05; 7:07:50 AM - --