Sun Ra - Column for 9/5



I'm not sure where to begin. We knew it was going to happen. I'm sure you've seen all the places where this catastrophe was foretold.

No one can stop a hurricane, of course.

Do you remember 1993? In 1993, Iowa flooded. Yeah, more or less the whole state. Ah, you do remember. Do you recall how many people died?

Fifty. Des Moines, population 250,000, was without water for twelve days.

What's happened now is, of course, worse.

But in 1993, we had FEMA. On Sunday, July 11, 1993, shortly after midnight, the head of Iowa's Emergency Management called FEMA and told them that Des Moines would soon be without water. FEMA personnel arrived Sunday morning, and had a plan of action before noon. By that evening, 29 water distribution centers had been established. The following day, the first of 30 self-contained water purification machines had arrived. The Des Moines water works was out of commission for two and a half weeks; the citizens of Des Moines never ran out of drinking water.

(Taken from this 1995 article).

In 2002, a senior aide to George Bush told Ron Suskind the following: "That’s not the way the world really works anymore. We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to study what we do."

I rolled my eyes and felt that strange mixture of scorn, anger, and betrayal that has been my constant companion since the American people took these evil men to their breast.

But, you know, in a way he's right. They do create their own reality.

But only in a bad way.

For instance. They said that Iraq was a haven for terrorists - and now it is. Of course, we weren't greeted with flower petals, we're not turning the corner, the new government can't control its own territory and even if it does survive, will feature fewer rights for women than they enjoyed even under Saddam... but about the terrorist thing, although they weren't right when they started, they certainly are now.

And they're right about government. Now.

Conservatives hate government. Irrationally. They say that it is good for nothing but corruption, and can achieve nothing. That anything run by the government is expensive and useless. That the best thing to do with government is to "drown it in a bathtub".

And now they have created their own reality.

The crack FEMA that we had under Clinton and James Lee Witt is gone. FEMA now is an underfunded mass of incompetence - just like the conservatives always claimed. They made sure of that.

So when the citizens of New Orleans - and the rest of the nation - looked to the horizon for help, there was none coming. No helicopters, no water purifiers, no food, no rescue. The government doesn't help people any more. That's not its job.

Not in this reality.

- Sun Ra

Columns by Sun Ra