The Difference Between Reverend Nagin and Reverend Robertson
Yesterday as you may or may not know, New Orleans Mayor For Life Ray Nagin had some interesting comments at the annual MLK Jr. parade. In addition to his publicized “chocolate New Orleans” comments (for which he has a lame excuse), he said God sent hurricane after hurricane because He did not approve of us being in Iraq “under false pretenses”. Finally, at the beginning of his speech, he had a conversation with Dr. King himself and they talked about everything from the Federal response to Katrina to the state of black America. Some in the blogosphere are comparing Nagin to Pat Robertson, but there are some very important distinctions that need to raised here, and these distinctions make all the difference.
The first major distinction is that Pat Robertson only hosts a TV show and has a limited following even among evangelical Christians whereas Ray Nagin is the mayor of a major American city. When Pat Robertson starts talking about God, I have the choice to turn “The 700 Club” off. However, I have to wait up to four years to remove Ray Nagin from office, or I did have the means to remove Ray Nagin from office until Louisiana Dictator Kathleen Blanco and her poodle, Secretary of State Al Ater, canceled New Orleans’s mayorial elections until further notice. Nagin can do far more damage due to his position of power than the crank Pat Robertson can with his television audience.
Another major distinction is that Robertson never made race an issue with his remarks, whereas I fear that Nagin’s racist remarks can possibly set the stage for race riots when black residents begin returning to New Orleans en masse. The black community in New Orleans has made the Katrina aftermath all about race from day one. They have alleged everything from a racist conspiracy to blow the leeves deliberately (if so then why were white Old Metarie and Lakeview flooded as well) to a racist conspiracy to keep blacks out of New Orleans (which Nagin alluded to yesterday). The black community and leadership in New Orleans has not condemned not just Nagin’s racist remarks but has not refuted the conspiracy theories, therefore these conspiracy theories and racist feelings have legitimacy among the black population of New Orleans.
The best way to bring New Orleans back and honor Dr. King’s dream is to vote Nagin out of office when Dictator Blanco finally sets an election date or is forced to by the Feds. Only then can New Orleans begin to rebuild for the benefit of all of the residents that make what has been termed a racial and cultural “gumbo” by former New Orleans Mayor Marc Morial.