This is said not to be a time for politics, and we can surely do without the petty sort. But how we pull our country together, make our government work at a time of great need, and share the sacrifices that war and natural catastrophe have imposed on us—these are inescapably political questions.
— E. J. Dionne
Author Cherie Priest on staying behind:
The evacuation was little more than a vague order to get the hell out—under your own power and at your own expense. If you have, at your immediate disposal, reliable transportation, money for gas, and either distant family OR money for shelter, then this isn’t a big deal. Of course you leave. You pack up everything you can and you head for higher ground. But it is somewhat less easy to do if you are lacking any one of these things, AND you have been informed that what little earthly lot you may claim is about to be destroyed. Do you hang on and try to save what you can? Do you let it go and return to less than nothing? What the hell do you do?
Columnist E. J. Dionne on state responsibility:
This is a moment in which individual acts of charity and courage, though laudable and absolutely necessary, cannot be enough. It is a time when government is morally obligated to be competent, prepared, innovative, flexible, well-financed—in short, smart enough and, yes, big enough to undertake an enormous task. Not only personal lives but also public things must be put back together.
Libertarian blogger Jim Henley with required reading:
One thing that does seem obvious to me is a view that does not seem to be universally shared: Everybody should feel chastened by events. Every level of authority has failed those trapped in New Orleans. Members of both establishment political parties have disgraced themselves. Nor has the “spontaneous organization” we libertarians worship come through. Whether you’re an anarcho-capitalist, a statist, a liberal or a conservative, your institution of choice has proven inadequate to the task.
And last but not least, Belle Waring being blunt:
Say what you like about casting blame for the unfolding tragedy in New Orleans, the bare facts of the matter are these: America suffered a serious attack on Sept. 11, 2001. That was four years ago. I think we had all assumed that in the meantime a lot of wargaming and disaster-mitigation planning and homeland security gearup had been going on. If this is what the Federal and State governments are going to come up with when the suitcase nuke goes off in D.C., then we are well and truly fucked.