Commentary: America's short attention span

Saturday was an anniversary of sorts. It was four years ago that Hurricane Katrina, the feared monster of lore and accurate prediction, roared as a Category 3 storm from the Gulf of Mexico into the heart of New Orleans, La. The rest is history, and that's the way Americans like it.

Even though more than 1,800 people perished and the city, particularly the Ninth Ward, was left under water, the Big Easy and the rest of the Gulf Coast ripped by Katrina are far from the nation's consciousness now. That's just the way we are.

This weekend, there have been numerous events celebrating the comeback of New Orleans, but in fact, the city is far from back. Many of the political and social issues that came together to form a perfect storm ignited by Katrina are still swirling. The city's pre-Katrina population (450,000) has yet to fully recover, and according to the Brookings Institute, now sits at 316,000. Many residents, scattered from coast to coast, would like to return, however, housing is difficult to find and very expensive when found. Apartments are renting at twice pre-Katrina rates, and many of the promises made by President Bush in a nationally televised address in front of the St. Louis Cathedral have not yet been fulfilled.

New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are not alone. Our National Attention Deficit Disorder goes even deeper.

As gruesome as the memories of that bright blue Sept. 11, 2001, sky were, many Americans have moved on. They have erased the thoughts of passenger jets colliding with the towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field, killing 2,993 people. They put out of their minds the fear and realization that a small band of terrorists could bring our nation to a screeching halt, without firing a shot.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Macon Telegraph.