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This is in response to the deplorable events discussed in the diary about the New Orleans bridge:

Nearly every post in that diary is focused on skin color.  This is my plea for progressives to see the bigger picture

I have little doubt that a group of poor, uneducated and desperate white "refugees" would have faced a similar response from the well-to-do suburbs.  While I do not mean to negate the very real issue of racism and its effect on the disaster response, the overarching narrative here it bigger than racism alone; it is truly a problem of "Two Americas" that Edwards so elegantly addressed during the primaries.

Limiting the scope of the events to racism plays directly into the hands of the GOP's nefarious "southern strategy".  There is nothing they'd like more than to see this debate devolve across racial lines.  It has expanded beyond that, and the problems of our society have expanded beyond that.  What fire hoses and police dogs were to the past, estate tax repeals and draconian bankruptcy laws are to the present.  I implore progressives to see the bigger picture.  The disturbing scenes being played out in New Orleans are just a microcosm of the ills afflicting our nation.  In New Orleans, relatively comfortable classes of people allowed Americans of a differing class to suffer because they feared that if the differing classes crossed the bridge, their way of life would suffer.  This shouldn't come as a shock to us.  This gut-churning phenomena happens every single day throughout the nation. Relatively comfortable classes of Americans with health insurance allow differing classes of Americans without health insurance to suffer needlessly because the comfortable classes worry that if they allow those without health insurance to "cross the bridge", their standard of care may be jeopardized during the ensuing reforms.  The philosophy underlying the modern Republican party is to prevent the "others" from "crossing the bridge".  The GOP's legislation is to millions of Americans what the gunfire was to those New Orleans residents who were trying to get out of harms way.

I must further emphasise that not only does this go beyond race, this also goes beyond class.  On its most fundamental level this is a conflict of values.  When we see fellow Americans encounter gunfire, both literally and figuratively, because they are trying to cross the bridge - we view it as reprehensible. Which side of the bridge each of us happen to live on does not inform our answer, because our answer is the product of our values.  As progressives, we believe that it is deplorable to shoot at fellow Americans who are trying to "cross the bridge".  The Republicans on the other hand, through their legislative and executive powers, actively try to increase the number of rounds fired.

The "values" of the Republican party are degenerate.  Period.

Our job is to point out this simple truth to the American people.  They must come to understand that issues of race and class, while important, are more often than not used as tools by the Republican party to avoid an honest discussion of values - because once Americans see the degenerate and shockingly repugnant philosophy underlying the Republican agenda, they will stop providing cover for those who take aim at fellow Americans, and the party will cease to exist.

Originally posted to Irrelevant Prolixity on Sat Sep 10, 2005 at 01:02 PM PDT.


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