At the “Higher Ground” benefit concert for Katrina victims, Danny Glover had this to say about the root causes of the disaster.
When the hurricane struck the Gulf and the floodwaters rose and tore through New Orleans, plunging its remaining population into a carnival of misery, it did not turn the region into a Third World country – as it has been disparagingly implied in the media – it revealed one. It revealed the disaster within the disaster: grueling poverty rose to the surface like a bruise to our skin.
Mother Nature revealed the poverty of a mindset that narrowly views security as a military issue. That is blind to the role of culture in sustaining the mental health and social wellness of people, which is also the basis for economic productivity. Blind to the role of culture in education, through which we are prepared for our responsibilities in a democracy. And hostile to the role of culture in the search for truth.
Hurricane Katrina revealed, more than anything else, a poverty of imagination.