Following Hurricane Katrina, it was hard not to like New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. He was fiery and brash, boldly crying out to our countrys most powerful the many frustrations felt by his people. Before Martin Luther King Jr. Day, he wouldve been known as the mayor who told the federal government to get off your asses and help his ravaged city.
Unfortunately, the Nagin we knew as a fighter for his people came across as an absolute divider Monday, when at a celebration with other black leaders, Nagin said, This city will be a major African American city. Its the way God wants it to be. You cant have New Orleans no other way. It wouldnt be New Orleans.
In American politics or even American culture, period, there is no forgivable way of even suggesting any deitys desires. For Nagin to suggest that God would prefer African Americans to Caucasians, Latinos, Asians or otherwise suggests that Nagins beliefs are steeped in something much deeper than a slip of the tongue. This is a man who now must have a clear-cut vision for the future of his city. Clearly, this vision has a particular race in mind.
As Nagin apparently met God for tea over the weekend, he also said, Surely, God is mad at America. He sent us hurricane after hurricane after hurricane, and its destroyed and put stress on this country.
The hurricanes were a horrible matter that will leave a major dent on our history. But the floods have dried up. Were picking up the wreckage now and in time, the Gulf Coast will be rebuilt. But, there all along before, during and after the hurricanes are the people. These are people who lost loved ones, lost homes and worldly possessions and some even lost their own life. These things can never be replaced. To suggest that God, in all of his apparent vengeance, would produce this much damage should cast a great depiction of the psyche of Mr. Nagin. To suggest God would prefer New Orleans primarily African American makes one wonder if Nagin, with all of his post-traumatic stress, maybe considers himself to be God.
It would be unfair to label Nagin a racist following these comments, but one has to question his morality. What are his motivations as mayor? To rebuild New Orleans as he sees it or as how God wants it to be? To clot 24-news with his outlandish sound bytes? The people of New Orleans, no matter their race, deserve better than this mayoral megalomaniac.
Even God would want that.