Tribal Drums

Beating out the same old tune, I guess.

The last post, ‘Going Tribal’, probably seemed disjointed. Maybe because I see the thread of a conflicting ethos as manifesting for some time now, and the effects of it as seen in the Katrina disaster as a further evidence, rather than something new.

As I thought things over, I wanted to say that we see the picture of the two responses to national disaster ( New York 911 and New Orleans Katrina) as manifesting different subcultural responses, but the more I thought on it the less convinced I was that this is the case. Mississippi is similar in culture to Louisiana, and they are handling matters more in the way one would expect.

No, Yankee and Southern cultures are not being compared in this. I think predominance of moral premises is being compared… in the constituents of the two cities and in the government players.

The balance of very different moral views of life is not a static matter, nor is it geographical. I wonder if we are not growing as a nation towards the warehousing of our poor and disenfranchised, giving them just enough to keep them docile, pacifying the clamor, but not doing anything substantial to remedy their problems. Not because nothing can be done, but because they are locked into a mindset that they will be taken care of. A mindset that is cultivated and fed by listening to leaders whose sole interest in them is to foment a self-pitying rhetoric; which then is used to further expand false, but money-magnetic causes.

Causes which never seem to address the real problems at hand.

Does our nation have the heart to hear truth? Does it have the gumption to stand up to vapid political complacency? Or will it stay mired in the stinking mud of vicious partisan camps?

If you blame the president for a hurricanes damage, or emergency services for a lack of local leadership… you are among the deluded, self serving, politically partisan demagogues.

If you play into the rhetoric of racial division and mistrust because a hurricane hit a specific area, you are deliberately feeding your own prejudice.

The Becker-Posner Blog, in which Posner said this:

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert, got into trouble, and had to apologize, for suggesting that maybe New Orleans should be abandoned rather than rebuilt. He raised a valid issue; that he got into trouble for doing so just proves the adage that, in politics, the phrase “to tell the truth” is synonymous with “to blunder.”

and makes the point that it is important to be able to address the necessary decisions, whatever they are.

If we walk through minefields of special interests as we have done, this will never happen.

If we do not understand that we are to be responsible in preparations for calamities, and for helping one another, and wait on government to be our salvation, we will suffer greater than necessary destruction.

If we do not refuse to reconstitute racial myths, we will again sink into segregated camps of color… with less idealism to overcome it.

Tribes are good so long as they are local efforts of community, of keeping alive the uniqueness of culture and passing on things of human beauty and dignity. Tribes are detrimental when we use divisions, weaknesses, and errors that keep people from seeing the universal human condition and interdependency.

I find the definition of this in the Bible, especially the last book having to do with finalities. In the book of Revelation is a picture of all tribes and nations being represented in God’s Kingdom. A unity of humanity which loses none of the flavor of peoples distinctives. It is a picture of each one expressing in music, voice, and dance, and probably in physical feature all the tribal connections known to man…yet together.

This Utopian view is the template by which we can appreciate one anothers differences and preserve the things that add to each person’s potential. Yet the picture of working and living together with goals that encompass the People in the larger scope of the nation. This is what the USA originally envisioned, and worked through trying to achieve, but we have lost much of our vision for wholeness as a people, many have fragmented into infighting clans that have no intention of benefiting something greater than themselves. Unless we rebuild that will and determination on a broad scale basis, we are doomed to see worse than Katrina’s aftermath… the catastrophes simply escalate the timing.

So will we build again our sense of civitas? Our ideal of duty and sacrifice, of freedoms and responsibilities? Our fortitude and patience in valuing life and family, understanding the pillars of our nation and how rare and privileged a situation this free nation is…for everyone, no matter what their economic strata?

We hear this so often with so much scoffing that we have lost the sense of how truly unique our nation has been in providing the closest thing to equality and prosperity on the earth. Now that we are seeing it tested, perhaps that reality will sink in.
Varifrank had some corroborating views:
Varifrank: 10 Things I learned From Hurricane Katrina.

I don’t know when it happened, and I don’t know how it happened but at some point people stopped watching sports and started watching party politics. Katrina and its after effects is where “political bashing” stops being funny. I think the corrosive nature of our politics helped contributed to the deaths of thousands by making people who should be working together suspicious of each other………

For the first time in history, individuals are blamed directly for the weather.
….This to me is the most staggering example of human stupidity since the creation of the “Whip Inflation Now” button. Because President Bush didn’t support the Kyoto treaty means that the weather has changed for the worse is utterly asinine. There is no better example of modern mans turn from scientific reasoning than this simple belief in the minds of so many people.

….Put a large scale natural disaster in any of those other places, and we will see a repeat of the same things we saw in New Orleans, not for any other reason than their governmental incompetence has lead to contempt in the minds of the populace. That is a very, very bad thing to have when things go badly.

This “kyoto means salvation” idea almost points back a sort of animist cult that believes that its leaders are somehow favored by the gods when things are going well and that when bad things happen that the leader has fallen from favor by the gods. I thought we had grown past that sort of thinking, but it seems that the euro-enviro-vegan cult has revived it.