Headline in today’s T-P:
HISTORIC VOTE: Winner will guide the city through post-Katrina landscapeYes, this is a historic vote. But, every vote in the last 25 years has been a historic vote. Every vote elected a politician who failed to prepare us for Katrina. Every mayor, councilperson, sheriff, representative, senator, and governor helped write a history lesson we would all rather not have to learn. Every election that brought us to this one was as important if not more important than this one.
Democracy only works when the people participate. New Orleans will elect a mayor. Not a god. Placing your vote must be seen as merely the first act of your civic duty post-Katrina, not as the closing act. Neighborhoods don’t rebuild themselves, and we will need to see civic involvement like New Orleans has never seen before for the city to be reclaimed by her people.
I think it’s coming. I really do. We know now that we have only ourselves to rely on.
Remember how it was right after the floods? Remember how we relied on people we didn’t know? Remember how you suddenly learned all your neighbors’ names? Remember how you found comfort in a stranger’s shared experiences? We are not strangers anymore. We are from New Orleans. We are family. It’s in our blood.
Everything did not lead up to today. Today is not the end. It is the start. Tomorrow will come, and we must be ready. Every day in New Orleans is a historic day. Every action in New Orleans is a historic action.
And by our actions, we write the mythology of the future. If we work together, our tale will not be one of hubris, one of humans aspiring to be gods. It will be one of humans being human. One of compassion.
Before the floods, I had forgotten what compassion was. After the floods, among all that was lost, I found compassion again. Compassion lives in New Orleans. I also found it doesn’t live in Washington, D.C.
New Orleans will not be rebuilt by who is elected today, but by the residents who live here. Our elected officials give us the tools, and some tools are better than others. But we do the work.
Congratulations to whoever wins today.
Now, get to work.