Last night President Bush gave the best line of any speech he has ever given (that’s not setting the bar very high, I know). He said, “And all who question the future of the Crescent City need to know: There is no way to imagine America without New Orleans, and this great city will rise again.”
I flew off the handle when I read the very irresponsible comments of Speaker of the House Denny Hastert who, just days after the city was devastated by Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, questioned whether New Orleans should ever be rebuilt.
The reason I was so upset was expressed nicely by the president last night. New Orleans is an integral part of the United States. It is part of the personality, the soul of this nation. To hear Hastert and others casually write-off New Orleans as just too much trouble, was very disturbing. It had all the seemliness of a parent discarding a sick child.
New Orleans has been around longer than the United States itself. Its acquisition, along with the vast stretches of territory added to our nation through the Louisiana Purchase, added culture, resources and a new frontier to the young nation. Benefits we, as a country, continue to enjoy today.
After closing the book on New Orleans, would we then write off San Francisco or Los Angeles after the next big quake WHEN (not if) it happens? How about the mid-Mississippi valley after the New Madrid fault let’s loose? Maybe depopulating Logan County might be a good idea since it seems to attract tornados. For that matter let’s get rid of trailer parks.
New Orleans is unlike any other city and yet it is very American. Let's nurse it back to health and then revel in its greatness. I can not imagine my country without New Orleans and shame on those so ready to give up on it.