After freely choosing to return to New Orleans in 2006 with expectation of helping reconstruct the City and after joyfully working with you all as we rebuilt, renewed, and recreated New Orleans, I'm saddened and shocked by two new man-made catastrophes:
Abandonment of the Historic Medical District and demolition of a Lower Mid-City neighborhood by the City Council, City Planning Commission, and Mayor,
AND contaminant pollution of the Gulf Coast, inland wetlands and possibly the City by an oil-rig leak, probably the result of budgetary skimping on the rig's construction, just as the Deluge of 2005 was the result of budgetary skimping on floodwall construction.
For my people, the Louisiana-French of the wetlands, who have lived there in what we have called "le paradis du monde" for two-hundred-fifty years, it may be the end of history as we know it. Loss of the wetlands was already advanced, and further losses due to the oil slick may not be sustainable.
I have concluded that the two political parties, Democrat and Republican, are not useful or helpful as they are. Republicans seem now to be neo-conservatives who say human beings live better with authoritarian government, and Democrats seem to be clueless. Both seem controlled by the financial and political rulers, intent on maximum profit instead of community well-being.
There are two sorts of politics: Morality politics and party politics. Law prohibits non-profits from participating in party politics, but it's beyond the scope of law to regulate morality politics.
Any non-profit that avoids morality politics is not worth the paper that created it. Any church that avoids morality politics may as well lock its doors. Any association that refuses morality politics is a waste of time.
In my sadness, fear and anger about the two catastrophes I mentioned -- destruction of the heart of New Orleans by poor urban planning designed to maximize profit for some public-private corporations AND destruction of the wetlands by poor oil-rig construction designed to maximize profit for British Petroleum -- I INVITE YOU TO A FORUM ON MORALITY POLITICS at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans, 5212 South Claiborne Avenue, on Tuesday evening, May 4, at 5:30.
Doors open at 5:00, and jambalaya and coffee will be served. Candida Shushan, a local leader of Move-On will be the introductory speaker. We will break into groups at some point to prioritize.
This is a community forum for all of us involved in morality politics, and we will insist the Forum retain this character. There will be a table for all groups that wish to bring literature: Move-On, C3, Progressive Democrats of America, Iraq Veterans Against War, and anyone else who wants space.
I propose we begin with the point of view that in our corporate economy -- which is not really free enterprise or capitalist -- the goal of maximizing profit at any cost has been devastating and dangerous to our common good. Hopefully we will pinpoint objectives we can work on together and determine courses of action to realize them, supporting one another and remaining in contact.
Robert Desmarais Sullivan is a Louisiana-French native of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Since the deluge he has become active in New Orleans' reconstruction.