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?

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4 Responses

  1. Joe says:

    The Bible has something to say to Bush, McCain and the Republicans:

    “Because you disdained all my counsel, and my reproof you ignored– I, in my turn, will laugh at your doom; I will mock when terror overtakes you; When terror comes upon you like a storm, and your doom approaches like a whirlwind…”
    — Proverbs 1:25-27

    Also, a video of McCain partying it up with Bush as levess broke in New Orleans from Katrina:

  2. Ginny says:

    We just returned from Ireland; a friend there visits New Orleans on business. He characterised the city as Third World. We all agreed it’s just one of many scandals the rest of the world sees but we somehow ignore. Perhaps Minneapolis could send their SWAT teams there to help instead of invading the homes of hippies.

  3. Peter Mayer says:

    What bothers me, aside from the current administration’s neglect three years ago, is the assumption that a Democrat administration would somehow have had all their ducks in a row, would not have been on vacation, would’ve made sure money was taken away from the Pentegon and used to build better levies. I have no faith that Al Gore or John Kerry or their cronies would have fared much better with Katrina than George Bush did.

  4. Jersey says:

    Dear Peter,
    I write as a SoFLAn since 1994 and yes, I have many friends who have Andrew scars.
    The 1st Bush administration got clocked with Andrew (so late, so small, so bureaucratically messed up) that the Clinton administration decided Not Again and decided to Go Pro. By 2000, FEMA had a good deal of credibility and, in conjunction with state governors like Jeb Bush, were more or less trusted by us average citizens.
    Unfortunately, as I understand it from reading the papers and just living here for 14 years, the 2d Bush administration decided not to Go Pro. Political appointees were brought in and the pros left.
    I don’t think the Dems would have done this and thus FEMA would have been starting with a higher competence base in 2005. Yes, I bet everyone would have been on vacation, but even so . . . .

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