Monday, October 22, 2007

Suffer in Silence

The black community of New Orleans has a serious crime problem. Almost everyday some young kid is laying in the street full of bullets. We need new schools and health care facilities. I truly believe that some things are being stalled in the recovery process purposely to keep some people from coming home and others to get frustrated and leave again. So why in the hell was the voter turnout so low? I am amazed at how all these people put themselves on an anger time limit or let the government buy their pain away for a few thousand dollars. We should be angrier. We should be angry at the crime, and the murder. We should be angry at how people chose to experiment with our kids’ education at their most vulnerable point. We should be angry that 30,000 migrant workers were here working before I could even get to my house to open up the windows for the mold. We should be calling Spike Lee to come and film another four chapters of When The Levees Broke. We should have lines at the polls. New Orleans is one place in America where black people have to vote and do it responsibly. There is an element here with a lot of influence that doesn’t hide their intentions. Do you think 20 police cars showing up at a second line in Treme was some kind of once in a lifetime thing? This culture we are supposed to love so much can be taken so cheap. We were too busy to get off our ass and vote Saturday. If the people on the register no longer live here then we need to register some new people. Now Jackie Clarkson will sit on that council again and if you think low income housing is going to come rushing back to the city with her having any influence you are foolish and stupid. She’s one of the main reasons now that it took so long for people to come home and all of the parks are full of trailers. You always get what you deserve when you vote the wrong way. It happened with Blanco, it happened with Nagin the second time and it's about to happen again. I don't want to hear anything when everyone has a midnight curfew and the N.O.P.D. is shaking brothers down everyday.

10 comments:

Leigh C. said...

I was really disappointed in the low local turnout, too. Actually, I was horrified. Just 'cause the candidate pool seemed to come from the lower end of the gene pool...it's no excuse for not showing up at the polls and at least voting the greater evils of the candidate pool out on the street. What this says instead is that even the people living here don't care too much about their leadership, so why should anyone in a leadership position care about New Orleans?

Grrrrr....

mominem said...

I really believe that if well respected black leaders stood up and started talking about the cost of crime in the black community they could find a receptive audience.

What is needed is for the whole community to come together. Schools are an important part, but the bad old schools are part of why we're where we are.

E.J. said...

My, Someone's upset. ;-)

You're absolutely right though; I should be pissed. Only 2 of the folks I voted for made the runoff, and the only reason I voted for 1 of the 2 was because he's not Foti. I haven't been angry at the outcome, and it's only as I read this that I realize it's because I'm too tired to be angry. I wasn't even fleetingly angry -- just depressed and defeated.

Thanks for the wake-up call.

Clifton said...

I'm upset E.J. because the people in the most need take the least amount of action and do the most complaining.

Breez said...

I haven't kept up with who was running for what, but I will say this (though this may not be popular). I don't believe in voting for the better of two evils by any means. As you mentioned, there is a cost for voting "wrong," and with that in mind, if both candidates are wrong, and I vote for the one that, for my beliefs, is merely "less wrong," then, can I complain when they ultimately screw up?

I know many people who vote for the candidates that they feel represent them, and if there are no candidates that represent them, then, they do not vote for that office. As far as I can tell, not voting as a conscious decision, IS in fact exercising your voice. It is a statement that you will not support substandard representation simply because that is all that is available.

Now again, I'm not there, so I'm not sure whether this was the case across the board, but I don't think it can all be dismissed as ambivalence.

Anonymous said...

I agree with breez. Voting for the lesser of two evils does absolutely nothing for the person who believes none or neither of the candidates represents their best interest. I didn't vote at all in this election because there was no candidate that I wanted to support in any of the races. My experience in voting is this(as I am sure with others experiences) candidates say what they need to say just to get elected. After that, no one hears from them until its time for another election. Why should anyone vote for the lesser of two evils. That's like voting based upon gender, party, or race. Ray Nagin was re-elected based upon race, not because he was the more qualified candidate who could get results for the benefit of the city. The older I get, the more I exercise my right not to vote. The message is I don't like any of the candidates. Many people don't like my decision not to vote and I often hear "too many people died for us not to vote." That is incorrect. Too many people marched and died for us to exercise our right to vote. Not be told that we can't vote. There is a difference between choosing not to vote and being told you can't vote. When I see a candidate who is sincere and interested in change, then that is the person I will support on election day. Until then, I am not wasting my time supporting people I know don't have anyone else's interest at heart.

Shanda

Schroeder said...

Cliff, I don't disagree with your sentiments on law enforcement (and I wholeheartedly agree with your comments on the election and voter turnout), but just for the sake of discussion, you brought up a number of crime themes that I'd like to see addressed more by leaders in the community. The white community isn't trusted to speak out on these issues, so the responses need to come from black leaders. These are constant themes which require satisfactory answers by public officials -- i.e., a comprehensive logic for why the criminal justice system operates the way it does. The Vera Institute reforms being shepherded by Councilman Carter area a big step in the right direction, but there needs to be a profound discussion about what's happening now, or else a radical departure if it isn't working.

"The black community of New Orleans has a serious crime problem. Almost everyday some young kid is laying in the street full of bullets."

An unspeakable tragedy -- even more so because it isn't talked about by black leaders in the community (er, the mayor perhaps?) -- at least, not with any sustained and meaningful resonance.

"Do you think 20 police cars showing up at a second line in Treme was some kind of once in a lifetime thing?"

Read the critterhead comment in this article about a second-line murder prosecution.

"I don't want to hear anything when everyone has a midnight curfew and the N.O.P.D. is shaking brothers down everyday."

That's a black NOPD chief making those calls. What is the alternative if the goal is to catch the thugs who are doing the killing now. I understand the argument about fixing education and building an economy that can sustain families with a decent living. The concern is what to do about the current generation of lost youth who are quicker to pick up a gun than a book?

And yes, the impact of immigrant laborers (and volunteers) doing a significant share of the rebuilding work needs to be openly discussed.

Clifton said...

I didn't cast a vote for every race on the ballot. I stand by my statement that everyone should at least go to the polls and sign the register. The power is not in voting for one particular person. The power is in people knowing you will show up on election day when decisions are being made. That's how you get policies in your favor. Not going at all makes your needs void in the minds of politicians.

Schroeder,
I have been watching policeman arrest thugs for the last 20 years and somehow it keeps getting worse. That tells me that traditional law enforcement methods are not effective in stopping the violence we have now. If a candidate can't see that then they are close minded and won't do anything but parade dozens of kids in front of the camera in shackles to make everybody feel better. The cameras won't be there when 50 kids take their place.

Another Conflict Theorist said...

Peace Cliff,

I think you're right. Anger is an appropriate reaction to cruelty, cooruption and senselessness.

This next sentiment is so dead-on that I feel the need to quote you: "I didn't cast a vote for every race on the ballot. I stand by my statement that everyone should at least go to the polls and sign the register. The power is not in voting for one particular person. The power is in people knowing you will show up on election day when decisions are being made. That's how you get policies in your favor. Not going at all makes your needs void in the minds of politicians."

I'm not saying that you haven't already, but I truly believe that you are going to do some really great things. Maybe in public office??

The long, long road home,New Orleans said...

A comment about your education comment. This education system was a piece of crap before the storm. Unfortunately, anything is an improvement over what it was prior to Katrina. I think the verdict is still out whether or not these charter schools are an improvement over the pre Katrina sytem. But it sure as heck can't be worse.