In spite of the unfolding humanitarian disaster, the US media has increasingly shifted its focus to “the security situation” in Haiti, as the Post put it. In tones reminiscent of its coverage of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005, the US media is now replete with references to “looters,” “gangs,” and “street violence.”
We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up