Saturday, May 28, 2011

What it feels like . . .

So Esquire magazine (one of my faves) has a regular feature called "What it feels like." I enjoy it.

Here's one Orleanian's partial perspective on what it feels like to live in this amazing city at an amazing time:

After complaining (along with other, better bloggers) so long that America, or at least the American government, didn't get it, didn't understand that "We are not OK," I sort of feel as though America did end up getting it. They (and yes, they are a "they," because the last 5 years have made it clear that we are not they) do understand that New Orleans is a special place. They understand that America would be forever less if this city were to go under water permanently, or if we were to become crippled as a city.

However, while I feel Americans' understanding of why New Orleans matters, I doubt our (humanity's) ability to do anything about disappearing wetlands, global climate change, and rising sea levels. Yes, people care. No, people aren't willing to turn this problem into some kind of Manhattan Project or Stranded Chilean Miners' Project. In the end, the threat of "six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline" hasn't seemed to inspire anything extraordinary. The Army Corps of Engineers has done a lot of scrambling around and spending and PR stuff, but does anybody REALLY think we are OK now? I don't. We're better off, but I don't think we are OK.

And I don't see anything promising on the horizon. The uncontained oil gusher didn't inspire serious change either. (However, it did inspire the spectacle of free-market Republicans criticizing a Democratic president for not being big government enough. Amazing.)

As I said the other day, the New Orleans Bingo! Show's song "Memory Parade" pretty much has it right, until further notice.

1 comment:

Editor B said...

Well said. I'd only add that the human race as a whole is not OK either.