Sunday, November 12, 2006

Social Justice in the Bush Era

What could possibly compel me to start posting again? How about this:

For $5, residents of one of the city's hardest hit neighborhoods received three tennis balls Saturday - and a chance to vent 15 months of frustration at the slow pace of rebuilding since Hurricane Katrina.

The object of their annoyance sat perched atop a dunk tank - Bob Josephson, director of intergovernmental affairs in Louisiana for the reviled and much-lampooned Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Politicians invited to be dunked who politely declined included Mayor Ray Nagin and Gov. Kathleen Blanco. No shows included City Council President Oliver Thomas and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in charge of fixing the city's levees.

After spending nearly 45 minutes in the dunking booth, FEMA's Josephson took off his sopping shirt and tried to warm himself with a towel.

He explained that FEMA is a part of the community and allowing himself to be dunked was an attempt to show that he and his much-criticized colleagues are not so different from their neighbors.

"It's all in good fun," he added, as residents thanked him and offered dry clothes and a place to change.

Of course, real justice would have been served had the vat contained carbolic acid, or had the FEMA officials been held under water so long after being dunked that they turned into one of the bloated corpses that floated through the ninth ward in the days following Katrina. But I guess we should be happy to pony up our five bucks and take whatever His Highness gives us.


Blogger bluememe said...

Welcome back, Doc.

The power of metaphor (a dunk tank? Did the Germans apologize for the Holocaust by offering Jews free extermination services?) is utterly lost on these folks.

9:49 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

The neighborhood put together a festival and decided to have a dunk tank to raise money, and get some digs in at politicians and recovery officials. Until you've lived through what we did, you might ought to think about how sanctimonious you sound. The Broadmoor residents are incredible people, struggling against challenges you will never face, and have no framework for understanding.

Your metaphor is off, too. FEMA fucked up the rescue and response; the Army Corps of Engineers fucked up the levees, which caused the flooding, which caused the loss of life and property.

But we endure here. And we know how to pass a good time.

9:01 PM  

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