The Polite Liberal

A rant-free discussion of liberal philosophy and policies.


The Polite Liberal is the pseudonym of a "nontraditional" graduate student in mathematics (for nonacademics, "nontraditional," is a polite way of saying, "older than 25.") The Polite Liberal is an attempt to spur real policy debate, instead of partisan insults and conspiracy theories. Conservatives (and liberals, of course!) are welcome.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Politics has real effects

There's been a lot of talk lately about whether it's appropriate to "play politics" with the catastrophe in New Orleans.

Right now, probably not. There are bodies in the water, and there are people that'll turn into bodies if we don't get them out of there and into housing right quick. For right now, the thing to do is head over to the Red Cross and donate some money.

Once the immediate crisis is over, though, we really do need to assess blame. Politics isn't some sort of team sport where we try to get "our guys" into power and keep "their guys" out. Politics is the process by which we try to get people we trust into positions of power.

It isn't always abstract--politics can be quite concrete. In the case of infrastructure improvements, it's sometimes literally concrete. The vulnerability of New Orleans to this sort of disaster has been discussed for years. If levees haven't been maintained, some one or some group made a conscious decision not to maintain them. If the response is disorganized, then either someone hasn't been planning properly, or someone higher up failed to make the planning anyone's job.

For now, let's help those people. Once the crisis is over, though, let's not let people whose job it was to prevent just this tragedy get away with accusing us of playing politics when we ask them why things went wrong.


Blogger NoTONoEagles said...

Help Mommy, there are Liberals! underneath my bed!!! (No, seriously, that's the name of the book...) Don't believe me? The dang thing's on Amazon, not some hippie-press bullcrap ;) Anyway, thought you might enjoy, pinko ;)

8:23 AM  

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