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New Orleans, R.I.P.

New Orleans Burning (21k image)“Alas, alas, for the great city that was clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, with jewels, and with pearls! For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste.” And all shipmasters and seafaring men, sailors and all whose trade is on the sea, stood far off and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning, “What city was like the great city?” And they threw dust on their heads as they wept and mourned, crying out, “Alas, alas, for the great city where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth! For in a single hour she has been laid waste.” Revelation 18:16-19

The level of Monday morning quarterbacking I’ve heard since New Orleans went under is absolutely overwhelming. The fever to spout off and declare what “they” should do covers the airwaves at all hours of the day and night.

Before the levees broke, I had quipped to my wife “I haven’t tuned in to Air America yet, but I’m sure that they’re blaming the hurricane on Bush.” I was, of course, being facetious. Although they blame everything great and small on Bush (flat tire, measles, pothole on Third Street–it’s all Bush’s fault), I wasn’t really going to slander them by claiming that they’d blame the weather on him.

But, sho ’nuff, they did. According to them, because he didn’t endorse the Kyoto Protocols and because of global warming, hurricanes are getting worse. And he cut New Orleans flood control funding and sent the money to Iraq instead.

But, interestingly, the conservative talk shows also are swamped with callers screaming about how somebody ought to do something. The unspoken presumption is that the caller cares about the sufferers more than do the rescuers who are risking their lives and wearing themselves to exhaustion. That presumption is, of course, stupid.

We can’t talk bad about the looters, you know. They wouldn’t be misbehaving if white folks weren’t so mean to them. We shall call them henceforth “undocumented shoppers” and consider their sniping at the rescuers as home rule and self determination. The fire you see in this entry’s photograph is just the indiginous peoples attempt at authentic self-expression and a symbol of their solidarity and their rejection of oppressive imperialist value structures.

And then we have the panic buying at the pumps: lemmings on the run. I have plenty of gasoline presently, so I look on from a distance. I stopped by a small independent station this afternoon to buy an oatmeal cookie for lunch (okay, in lieu of lunch) and I asked the proprietor “When will you have gasoline again?” He answered “I’ll probably get a delivery tonight. Yesterday morning I bought 6,000 gallons. It was gone by 6 PM. Usually 6,000 would last three or four days.” And Memphians are doing this in spite of the local refinery guys getting on TV and announcing “There is no gasoline shortage; we have plenty of gasoline in Memphis and plenty more where that came from.” But the lemmings are buying it so fast the delivery trucks can’t keep up with them.

Just to rub some salt in the wound, as if it could get any worse, we have the prophets announcing that God has judged New Orleans for its wickedness. But how can anybody know that unless he hears voices in his head? The Bible doesn’t say New Orleans is (was) doomed. Certainly God hates sin, but I question to what degree New Orleans surpassed her neighbors. How come San Francisco is doing fine tonight? What about Saginaw, Michigan? Or Miami, Florida? I’m thinking now of a small town in Mississippi where the divorce-and-remarriage situation was so foul, you needed a scorecard to keep the players straight. The day care center had to constantly update their records to know day-by-day who was authorized to pick up any given child. There were drugs, fornication, drunkards, hate, corruption, blasphemy, etc. All I could say in the town’s favor is that homosexuality was not open and accepted.

The Lord Jesus specifically said that a natural disaster should not be taken to mean that those who perished were more wicked than others. The prophets should know that.

Beam me up, Scotty. There’s no intelligent life down here.

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