Saturday, October 1, 2011

Tribes--Bill Whittle

TRIBES was written immediately after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast in 2005, and tales of appalling circumstances in New Orleans -- specifically in the Superdome -- were flying loose everywhere. A lot of those events turned out not to have happened, but the essentials remain the same: I was furious -- just plain seeing-red livid -- at some of the charges that were being hurled, and I decided to say something about what I was feeling in the middle of these accusations and recriminations.

This is likely the most controversial thing I have written. Some people have called it racist. It is precisely, continuously and emphatically anti-racist... but that card has to be played when it's the only card you hold. And there is a language warning for this one -- not something I generally require. Anyway, here it is: back by popular demand. ]

I’m generally an optimist, and it’s been my pleasure to be able to write mostly about the good and the noble things in our lives. But the events in the Gulf – of Mexico – have brought to a head a summer and a year that has been getting progressively uglier and more painful to watch.

Who can not see the way the country has changed, not since 9/11, but before that – since the 2000 election? Who cannot feel the split, the division, that rips like a shredding sail on a broken mast, canvas tearing like the sound of musketry, as the rigging falls to the deck?

This breaks my heart. It just breaks my heart into little pieces. I have said less and less as I see more and more, because deep in my core I still don’t want to believe that some Americans could willfully and consistently do such destructive things out of such petty and base motivations, things which make in time will make the horrors of New Orleans look like a flea circus in a small tent, with the much larger carnival raging unseen in the background.

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