I continue to follow the Hurricane Katrina crisis, however Natalie tells me not to worry so much.
I was particularly shocked when Negro leaders spoke out on television - not in apology for the way New Orleans negros had acted during the tragedy - but in offense with claims of abuse & neglect towards "their people". This ignores the mugging, the rapes, the murders and the looting... performed mostly members of "their" community, as they define it. It is no secret I used to own slaves on my Monticello plantation. I once emphasized in documents detailing my research of the negros that I feared they would never forgive the white race for our transgressions. I fear this now is some evidence that today it is true. Some, like the kinds I saw speak up in the face of this tragedy, did not join America in a colorless society - they did not integrate. They instead segregated, further widening the racial divide. They kept their own negro faces to speak for their special interests. They went out into the free world, only to perpetuate the stereotypes they claim oppressed them so.
Leaders like Reverend Jesse Jackson, and this musician, Kayne West, have spoken out but not in disgust for the anarchy New Orleans citizens, who in this case were mostly black, have brought upon the city. Instead their disgust is at the white man, who they blame for the degenerate and desperate behavior. Firsthand reports from the Convention Center suggest that racial tensions are climaxing with black men taunting and often threatening white people, in one such case, white elders were being threatened with murder by young black men who said they did not deserve their seat on the busses to come rescue them. Blacks, in my knowledge of history from the history books, once fought for seats on buses as a sign of liberation. Now they fight for seats on buses as a sign of their own malcontent racism. Neither Kayne West nor Jesse Jackson were slaves, yet they spread this hatred amongst their "people". I can only hope the average black man can see through the facade, feel the same guilt a white man does for his ancestry, and stop thinking so much in terms of skin color, especially in times of crisis like this when it is not important.
I have been working myself to the bones trying to solve the situation with St. George Tucker and the Phi Beta Kappa organization. I am trying to discern the importance of all of this in history, to what extent does the ripple effect occur? This question is easy for me, knowing my own role in history. I know that I, Thomas Jefferson, was transported from my elderly years in 1826 to today, de-aged to the body of my youth and stuck nearly 200 years in the future. I also know that one of the researchers who invented the time machine, Dr. Julius Rothsbard, is missing, and that his partner - my friend Ludwig - has gotten only vague clues to his disappearance. These clues point us to another historical figure, St. George Tucker, although his role seems unrelated to my own. St. Tucker did attend my alma mater, the College of William & Mary. He was a part of some of the same groups I was. But how does me being transported out in 1826 affect his role in history? Ludwig does not know my role in this yet, but he may have to soon. I have spent months researching this in libraries to no avail.
It was as I pondered this much today that Daniel came forth with interesting news,
As skeptical as I am, I think it is important we dig deeper. I will notify Ludwig soon of this situation, and I have decided: it is time he be informed that I am not who I represented myself to be, and show my hand in this. It's just a matter of how...
- TH. Jefferson
First I would like to thank readers who have stuck it out with TeeJ since the beginning, today marks the end of year two of this blog. Things have been rough, updates sometimes sparse, but I keep trudging along and now the story is over 70% complete.
More rants about New Orleans cover race topics and who is to blame. For a crisis of epic proportions, it certainly fell apart quickly. I hate to say that I am not surprised. The Mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin, didn't prepare for the hurricane. Evacuations went on in the city totally unsupervised, evidenced by the Convention Center crisis, where misdirected rescue efforts told people to gather at the Convention Center, then the Mayor forgot to tell anyone that anyone was actually there. It wasn't until Wednesday that they realized tens of thousands of people were gathered there, right in the middle of the beginning of the Astrodome evacuation. This left the Convention Center people stuck as buses rolled by, buses not intended for them. The mayor even showed favoritism in evacuating people near his own headquarters, in the stupidest way imaginable, by sending them to the Astrodome and putting them "first in line" to escape. Most of these people, rich tourists, were white. Most of the people in line were black. It exaggerated the racial tensions, yet the Mayor wasn't smart enough to deal with that. And unlike the President, you can't say the Mayor of New Orleans is racist - the Mayor of New Orleans is black.
The real racists of this situation are those who are exploiting the race card and condoning the bad behavior of the New Orleans gangs, muggers, rapists and looters to snipe for race-related special interests, but I already ranted about that in the article. Another thing that irritates me is the FEMA reaction to this crisis. They joined into the rescue efforts but they weren't organized with the local levels, they weren't organized with the state. Instead of blaming their own management or the lack of any form of chain of command, they use it as an excuse to beg for more Federal funds. The mobilization of the National Guard has helped stabilize the situation, and the military has mobilized to aid in the supply chain, and things are getting better. However, there is still a problem of gangs and violence, many of those tensions now also breaking down along race lines (with many stories of black crowds chastising white citizens), the guns after all are still not in control of the police. By the end of the week most people should be out of there.
The rescue effort was a mess, much of it a preventable mess, a human mess. It shows a failure of the government as well as a failure of society itself. Mississippi and Alabama is dealing with the crisis pro-actively, but the state of Louisiana and especially the leadership of New Orleans have let it collapse. Of course, the partisan complaints come, either mindlessly thanking the Bush administration for the relief they are bringing in, or criticizing him for not bringing it in sooner. Sometimes I wonder if people understand how our government is designed, or if they forget that states and localities are supposed to have the chain of command in place to deal with crisis situations themselves in the zero hour and the immediate aftermath? The answer of course is "no", because we don't have too many people, like our good ol' Thomas Jefferson, left to illustrate such points for us.
New Orleans, for nearly a week, has been Bedlam by the Bay (yes, a reference to the Batman story arc "No Man's Land", where Gotham city is ravaged by a natural disaster and descends into gang-ruled anarchy). Let us hope people smarten up and actually take the initiative on these rescue efforts to get the situation resolved as quickly as possible, so we can help put this national tragedy - a human tragedy - behind us as a lesson harshly learned.