WHAT HURRICANE KATRINA REFLECTED.MNN. September 20, 2005. Hurricane Katrina put up a mirror that exposed a hole within “democratic” society. She swept away the veil of delusion. She revealed a societal crisis. She showed our flaws. In a hierarchal system, only the man at the top can give the order. President George Bush delayed assistance to the victims for four days causing death, havoc and chaos. Now everybody is taking shots at George Bush. Bush says, “I take responsibility for what happened”. Does it really make sense to balance our lives on the narrow little shoulders of this man? What does he know of the struggle that the people are facing? Why should we turn to someone who has no experience in practical reality?.

The problem is deeper. Bush is a pawn in the system in which he exists. He is trying to play the hero. He has to look good. “I am responsible”, says he, while
saluting the flag. Who cares about a flag when babies are dying of starvation and dehydration in the middle of a cesspool?

Decaying structure. As Katrina showed, the Americans have a structure that’s supposed to take care of them. It’s rotted, crumbled and washed away by winds and tides, eroded by pollution and neglect. They aren’t sure how this happened. So they are trying to find some scapegoats, some sacrificial lambs that they can burn on the alter of convenience to feed their fear and confusion. The energy they waste would be better spent listening to the people.

Scapegoating takes American society off the hook. Nothing gets solved. Katrina showed us their system cannot cope. It is structurally fraudulent. How much can they build with delusional beams? They refuse to look at a system that is supposed to have a rule of law root. They think that all their hierarchical structures will stand every hurricane even though they’re crumbling.

Smoke and mirrors. Bush says he’s going to rebuild New Orleans. Their system produces contrived leadership. It tells people whatever they want to hear. “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?” It’s too busy asking silly questions to know how to roll up its sleeves and get to work rebuilding the structure and sorting out the rule of law.

The hierarchical system versus the true democratic system. The judiciary is supposed to uphold the basic principles of constitutional democracy and the rule of law. The judiciary has not permitted the power of the people to express itself, even though they have an inherent right to do so under the constitution. The judiciary is supposed to make sure a true democracy functions.

Our constitution. The Kaianereh’ko:wa/Great Law of Peace, is a true democracy that is not hierarchical. It is a tripartite system. Every citizen’s opinion is valuable. Every person is responsible. Individual responsibility goes along with individual empowerment.

The U.S. Constitution is based on the Kaianereh’ko:wa. Accordingly, each individual is responsible at the grassroots level. In our language we call the brain “oni kon ra” which means “it takes care of you”. We take care of ourselves with others by putting our minds together. Everybody has an opinion because humans are equal and everybody gets to have their say. The Longhouse government and court hears everyone, in the presence of everyone. This sets the truth free. By this means justice, as the application of truth to affairs, comes into existence.

The U.S. Founding Fathers have acknowledged the debt owed to the Kaianereh’ko:wa. They tried to copy our constitution. They got it almost right, but not totally. Now they’re busy covering up the mess they’ve created.

U.S. and Canada. The constitutions of the United States and Canada are both based on the rule of law. Neither the political leaders nor the people have given much thought lately to what this means. Their legislatures passed federal laws which violated their constitutions and undermined their nation-to-nation relationship with the Indigenous people. The newcomers turned their backs on caring for the people. Katrina left them with a lethal combination of chaos and despotism.

They have to go back to first principles. Any leader in any country at anytime is a product of the society. Bush did not create society or its rules. It is a tragedy to see so much responsibility placed on the non-existent shoulders of such an uninspired man. Under the Kaianereh’ko:wa he would still have his contribution to make. But it wouldn’t take precedence over the depth of human experience shared by fellow Americans.

Obligations. If they want to avoid chaos, they need to learn how to restructure their society in a way that respects their founding belief that all men and women are created equal. Everybody matters. Under the Kaianereh’ko:wa the relief effort in Southern United States would have been spontaneous. You have to help your brothers and sisters.

Symptom v. Cause. Bush made a deadly mistake when he delayed responding to the flood victims of New Orleans. What happened is deeper than any individual. He is a symptom, not the cause. The rule of law is not functioning as it should. To solve the problem you have to clean the wound and get the infection out of it.

Bush bashing is another way of avoiding responsibility. The man is not that important. The people are. We all have to join hands with our neighbors and learn how to work together again.

Everyone is responsible. The Kaianereh’ko:wa doesn’t scapegoat the guy at the top. There is no guy at the top. There isn’t a top. There isn’t a bottom. The people are all together with all else in the circle of interdependent life on Mother Earth. The Kaianereh’ko:wa is pure democracy where each individual, all the relatives and nature are respected. Everybody is entitled to speak and be listened to. You never know where a good idea might come from, or who will tell the truth when all others are lying.

What’s in store.? Katrina showed us what will happen if we don’t reform the structure. We must return to the fundamental principles of justice. If nothing is done about the structure, society will break down.

Root Cause. The rule of law will change society if they address the constitutional jurisdiction question. Our case in the U.S. Supreme Court, number 05-165, addresses the root cause of the breakdown of the system. The Kaianereh’ko:wa is the origin of civil government and society which is the rule of law. This is not working right now. The judiciary allowed the structure to be created that allows people to take advantage of other people, contrary to the rule of law. Bush is a competitor. He takes advantage of the system. Scapegoating him instead of correcting the system is merely treating the symptom, not the cause.

Restructuring. The Kanien’ke:haka/Mohawk have been trying to get the system to address itself structurally. Bush is operating competitively within the system as it has been set up to operate. Should we continue taking pot shots at him? Or can we listen to the Kaianereh’ko:wa and the Indian message? We are trying to stop the genocide of Indigenous people. When we help re-establish the rule of law then genocide of others will stop too.

The Kaianereh’ko:wa represents something good about humans. It expresses the justice that is inherent in the natural world when it is based on responsibility for “all my relations”. The people are the final decision makers. If Bush makes mistakes, it is the people’s response to correct it by insisting that their judiciary do its job of upholding the constitution. The rule of law is based on the power and responsibility of all the people.

We are getting conflicted messages. The Kaianereh’ko:wa message of taking care of each other, and the mainstream message to take care of number one. The structure out there is not working. It produces scapegoats instead of structural reform.

Conclusion. Can we save people from themselves by correcting the system that produces and rewards such people? Is it our fault that this happened? We do have the ultimate power. We are the people. Our system of constitutional law and the rule of law is the solution. This is implemented by weaning the judiciary away from opportunism about what it wants the law to be, into respecting the law as it is. There is no point in a people having the rule of law if the people’s judiciary makes up the law as it goes along instead of taking the law as given by the people.

Kahentinetha Horn
MNN Mohawk Nation News

poster: Thahoketoteh

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