Post-Katrina New Orleans: The Strangely Vacant Article II Actor Denying or Delaying Right or Justice
Because this work is not literature but at its most essential is a mirror of the conundrum presented by the rapidly approaching moment of Constitutional politics in our present American national life, that mirror perforce shows but a pastiche, a mosaic not yet complete, a jigsaw puzzle whose pieces keep shifting in space before they can be placed. As yet no “final answer” has appeared on any horizon to the dilemmas posed by the consequences of the Presidential actions analyzed in the Leitmotif -- particularly the decidedly non-heroic failures to act that had such lethal consequences for so many of our beloved dead -- and those of Our highest Federal officers in the immediate aftermath of the threatened Armageddon it was well known beforehand that Katrina posed to the United States.
For example, President Bush’s abysmally inept oversight of Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff’s poor post-Katrina first-week job performance completely failed We the People and taxpayers of the United States who have invested hundreds of billions of dollars since 9/11/01 in the new Department he now manages for one purpose only: to increase the security of our own American homelands. Yet decreased homeland security is what We the People got post-Katrina throughout the Gulf Coast region -- and especially in destroyed New Orleans.
For all this, wherein lies the remedy within the larger American history saga of the societal disaster still unfolding post-Katrina all along the Louisiana and Mississippi Gulf Coast -- and especially in destroyed New Orleans -- since the time of gravest national need since September 11, 2001? After that black day now in the history books will come August 29, 2005.
Throughout this work, “US” stands both 1) for the pronoun that is the appropriate objective- case reference in English to something a nominative-case “We” does, and 2) for the “U.S.”: that is, for the “United States,” that republican democratic commonwealth Our Founding Fathers brought abruptly forth into the history of the world on July 4, 1776 -- the one that stands for “liberty and justice for all.” Because throughout this work “We” often stands for “We the People of the United States,” such usage of “US” remains a synchronously apt pun. Compare the resounding Words that open Our United States Constitution:
We, the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution of the United States of America.
Within Our American Constitutional context, wherein lie the appropriate “lessons learned” now for US, that Posterity? We respectfully submit that it should be naught but Our utmost goal to learn them all, to learn them well, and to learn them now. Never again must We elect or confirm in office any Federal officer capable of being so derelict in performing his sworn Constitutional duties that his passivity or incompetence either helps cause or allows to remain unmitigated an exponential increase in the harm -- over what would otherwise have been done by a natural disaster alone -- suffered by thousands of citizens in their own American homelands.
But when to our very great shame and sorrow that is precisely what happened post-Katrina -- especially in destroyed New Orleans -- wherein lies the remedy now for US? And wherein lie the mechanisms by which We may ensure that appropriately accountable consequences also fall appropriately upon all Federal officers who so reprehensibly failed US? For We now know that they could scarcely be relied upon should -- God forbid -- there come another time of national need on their watches. No, We could never again trust any of them with even Our own personal safety: much less with that of Our Posterity. If they do not have the good grace to resign, what remedy?
As We reflect where We might next best turn at Our rapidly approaching moment of American Constitutional politics, this work also offers bridging devices throughout for Our consideration, i.e., historical and literary and sacred epigraphs from American history and culture (as that developed from its roots in the Judeo-Christian religious tradition). These include the “Essay-Bridging American History Epigraphs” that end subdivisions of this work. These epigraphs are given in respectful obedience to President Ronald Reagan’s farewell injunction to US that We must do a better “job teaching our children what America is and what she represents in the long history of the world.”
As Santayana said, those who do not know their history are doomed to repeat it. As Americans everywhere now reflect on how best for Our Nation We may begin healing the deadly blights on Our American heart and soul -- that seared the consciousness of the entire world that immediate first week post-Katrina -- the epigraphs also allow US to reflect on Our historic conceptions of what constitutes a hero-leader, a father, and especially the Father of Our Country.
Those who wish to succeed must ask the right preliminary questions.
METAPHYSICS, II (III), I
Date of this Version
Cynthia A. Drew, "Post-Katrina New Orleans: The Strangely Vacant Article II Actor Denying or Delaying Right or Justice" (July 30, 2006). bepress Legal Series. bepress Legal Series.Working Paper 1483.