Matt Towery

 Wednesday's declaration by the mayor of New Orleans that "thousands may be dead" -- whether confirmed or not at the time -- should have justified an end to regular TV network programming.

 It wasn't to be. One of my own local network affiliates -- like most others around the nation -- kept airing "General Hospital" via the network feed.

 You can bet that if New York City were underwater, and thousands were presumed dead with countless others' lives still hanging in the balance, these same networks would have suspended regular programming to cover every developing second of the disaster's unfolding events.

 These effete national executives just can't get a handle on the South, be it our politics -- especially in predicting our elections -- or our economic significance. They are always a day late and a dollar short.

 They think we're racists, when in fact the greatest peaceful mixing of races in the nation -- and maybe the world -- occurs in the South every day. Substantial African-American and Hispanic communities are an integral part of our economy and communities.

 They assume we are dumb and poorly educated. That ignores the massive improvements that have been made since the Civil War ended. That's when a dual set of second-class citizens was created overnight -- destitute whites, including many in the former planter class, and uneducated former slaves.

 Trace a line from Houston through Atlanta, Jacksonville, Charlotte, Miami, and yes, what was once New Orleans, and you will see the clear outline of who controls Congress and the White House.

 We are the growth of America and its future.

 But it took days for the nation as a whole to even tip its hat to a natural disaster that has the potential to drag America into a full-blown recession.

 I'm American before all else. I'm proud of every part and each person in the United States. Like Frank Sinatra, I love New York. I travel to Los Angeles at the first chance.

 But this week, I speak the words no one else wants to say: The South has been hit with the equivalent of a nuclear bomb. And too much of America didn't want to notice until it had to. 

Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a pollster, attorney, businessman and former elected official. He served as campaign strategist for Congressional, Senate, and gubernatorial campaigns. His latest book is Newsvesting: Use News and Opinion to Grow Your Personal Wealth. Follow him on Twitter @MattTowery