At the beginning of this catastrophe, I wondered why black leaders didn't criticize New Orleans' mayor, Ray Nagin, for his inept handling of the evacuation of his city's most vulnerable citizens. I asked the Rev. Jesse Jackson about this several times during an editorial board meeting, but he didn't respond to the question.
Interesting, could this be a case of don't criticize your own. Perhaps Jesse Jackson knows what's up and is keeping his criticism to himself. Or maybe Jesse Jackson is just trying to keep this story about race and class as so many have attempted to do since all has been said and done.
In this column Mitchell highlights how Nagin has proven himself incompetent in this disaster and while he's not Rudy Giuliani, he certainly didn't follow the example. In light of 9/11 Rudy took command and control, in fact while the President was flying around he was the only public official we saw out there on that sad day. Nagin on the other hand was whining and asking for someone's help.
Still Mitchell refers to the idea of the nuance of race. She says she can't be too hard on Nagin. According to her...
I have no doubt that if Mayor Daley left the entire South and West Sides snowed in after a killer blizzard, Jackson and every other black leader would be demanding his head. But when the levee broke, Nagin became just another black man trying to cut through red tape. Black people know how long that can take.
Instead of looking at Nagin's incompetence she looks at the issues of the response by the federal and state government's. Even Blanco admits she should have called in federal troops sooner. To be sure there is blame to go around everywhere. Still in my mind the bottom line is that someone or some people failed.