I’ve been watching the events unfold in LA and Mississippi.
No one says much about Gulfport – Biloxi is in the news of course – Keesler Air Force Base is there. Even if it isn’t mentioned much, it’s bound to make Biloxi more newsworthy.
I was stationed in Biloxi for almost 8 months, going through Air Force Technical Training School for my specialty in Ground Radio Communications. (AFSC 304×4 – or 2E1X3 for those newer Airmen) My roommate and I spent almost every weekend in Gulfport Mississippi – playing RPGs at the Dragon comic book shop. Pamela and her mother owned the place, and made us feel welcome. And let me GM much of the time. (I love being in control!)
Sometimes we’d all pile into my little Chevette and drive to New Orleans. With Pamela as our guide, we had a good, but sober time. A good thing we had Pamela to guide us to fun, non-alcohol events – ‘cause one of the reasons why my roommate and I bunked together was due to neither of us were particularly interested in drinking.
So now I hear that Gulfport is just gone! Nothing left (or next to it). I’m glad Pamela got out of there (years ago – after an earlier nasty hurricane). Biloxi has had major changes to its landscape now – and Keesler is just starting real cleanup.
And New Orleans is almost completely destroyed. I’ve heard rumors that the French Quarter is still mostly okay – perhaps they will still have a draw for tourists.
Although New Orleans is a blue district in a red state, Biloxi and Gulfport are firmly red.
I find it amusing that conservative Republicans traditionally yell for a stronger military, but will protest when the military starts messing with their own neighborhoods. I well remember the attitudes that Biloxi residents had toward us Airmen – a popular bumper sticker while I was there read, “Keep Biloxi Beautiful, run over an Airman”. There was a conservative group that would ask that Airmen in training be confined to base for the duration of their training. I guess I could understand – whenever a class would finish a particularly hard block of Electronics School, they would go out and party for the weekend – and cause all kinds of havoc. (Us non-drinkers were in the minority)
That area of the Gulf Coast has a population that even way back in ’85 had a huge difference in social and monetary class. I would guess that back then, the majority of the population was either lower middle class, working poor, or just plain dirt poor. A minority of the population was rich – VERY rich! I recall it didn’t seem to matter to anyone there – rich or poor – you voted Republican.
Back then, I didn’t see anything wrong with that – I was a conservative Republican myself. (I liked President Reagan! He gave me, and everyone else in the military, good pay raises!)
The critical examination of my life (that I started almost 10 years ago now) eventually made it obvious to me that average conservative Republicans have their collective heads firmly up their asses – at least where the common good is concerned. It started becoming even more obvious that most of these people voted party line because they couldn’t be bothered to study the issues at hand. Instead, they would just follow the words of those people that they admired, sheep-like.
It never seems to occur to those just-above-poverty-level ‘sheep’ that the people they admire are the wealthy ‘wolves’. Following the advice of their leaders, these poor people voted time and again against their own best interests.
And perhaps now a lot of them are starting to wake up. Forced to admit that they helped dig the hole they’re in now. Forced into wakefulness by a President that wastes American’s lives – with cuts in social programs, with the looting of the National Guard, the Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA, and other disaster preparedness operations in order to man and finance Tax Cuts and his own personal war. A President who only reluctantly cuts his 45 day vacation short, 3 days AFTER the beginning of the emergency – and then makes an obviously clueless, half-assed speech about how good things really are.
Will the political climate in Louisiana and Mississippi shift in response?
Repent America director Michael Marcavage said that Katrina is punishment from God against the sins of New Orleans. As an Atheist, I humbly suggest that perhaps (if there is a God) Katrina is punishment for electing leaders that intentionally dehumanize their constituents in the name of money and power. I figure that a kind and loving God would be furious at his followers, and would unleash some frustration in an attempt to wake them up to what is really going on.
God-induced or not – I think it may have worked. There are going to be some pointed questions by the survivors of Katrina, and these survivors are not going to like the answers. A lot of people are going to demand their leader’s blood. And perhaps enough of them will wake up enough to realize how badly they are being treated. Perhaps they will move to a more moderate position.
Perhaps a large portion of the population will even change political parties entirely? I dunno.