Likely Gustav response
So the Republicans are in a pickle. Hard to know what to do when your convention is scheduled during a devastating hurricane. I don’t envy them, really. I’ll be interested to see what they do.
Meanwhile, the Bush administration will try to do a better job with Gustav than they did with Katrina. Here’s the thing. Our government seems pretty good at handling disasters that afflict rich white people. But if something hits poor people or people of color (let alone both!), then all bets are off. Wildfires taking at million dollar homes? No problem. Big storms affect suburban communities, disrupting key soccer games? Fixed? Mass devastation, destroying entire communities and displacing tens of thousands? Um, not so much.
My friends who have gone to New Orleans to do mission work tell me it’s still a devastated place, three years after Katrina. Oh, sure, the tourist spots are better, but the places where actual people lived are still filled with rotting houses and empty lots. This pattern of neglect began right when Katrina was wiping out New Orleans.
What was the Bush administration doing to help the city during the storm? Let’s recount:
- George Bush was on vacation.
- Dick Cheney was on vacation.
- Condoleeza Rice was buying shoes and going to Broadway shows in New York.
- Michael Brown (head of FEMA) congratulated himself and ate out.
- HHS Secretary Chertoff complains that he didn’t know what was going on (yet I could see it all on CNN).
I am not making any of this up.
So here’s my plea to the Bush administration: pay attention this time. Actually do something for the people of this country. Hey, it might even clear up the sour taste from last time.
Here’s my plea to readers of this blog: don’t let our politicians get away with shameful neglect. Be a voice for the voiceless. Make it clear that no one should suffer needlessly, whatever their race or economic status.
Oh, one more thing: if the levees break again this time, it’s because they were rebuilt (poorly, apparently) using the same lousy standards as last time. How’s that for a raw deal?