"Many Democrats believe the great economic and racial divides exposed by Hurricane Katrina will give their party a chance to make the case for a change in leadership, beginning with next year's midterm elections."
Caucus Members were eager to launch rhetorical tirades against the Bush Administration and the extreme right. We've seen the argument blaming Republican policies for the growing gap between rich and poor, and the disproportionate impact this is having on the African American community. This assertion plays center stage at many a gathering of Black legislators, followed by the collective bitterness of advocates, activists and concerned members of the community who are jaded by the lack of a clear plan. Yet, the plan proposed seems overly reliant on the Democratic agenda (or lack thereof) which has enough on its plate trying to position itself as a centrist coalition retaking Congress and the White House. Black legislators, particularly those in the CBC, will need to seriously revisit the development of an ambitious community plan that isn't so directly tied to the fate of a political party with little power in Washington these days.
In the wake of Katrina, there was also an opportunity to raise the issue of disproportionate Black poverty in the districts of many a CBC Member and what the community (not Congress, the White House, Democrats or Republicans) can do about it. We expect this may be an uncomfortable subject. But, again, as we've stated in this blog weeks before Katrina, African American poverty in New Orleans was a reality long before media made it a sudden cause celebre'. And, what of Detroit, New York, Los Angeles, Philly, Chicago, etc.? Do we wait for another Act of God before we pay attention?