I’m a little disappointed with my peers. They either have no idea of what’s going on in New Orleans or they unknowingly reveal their prejudice towards blacks with ignorant comments. The first one is, “They should have left the city. It was a category five hurricane.” Arguments to show that the affected were poor and car-less is met with statements such as, “Well I would have started walking.” Yes, escaping a 200-mile wide hurricane by walking 15 miles a day is the rational thing to do. They don’t want to hear that Greyhound bus service shutdown on Saturday because then they would have to strain to come up with the next comment: “Well they shouldn’t be looting. They are hampering the effort.” I can’t help but think of the movie Die Hard when Bruce Willis blows up a couple terrorists by throwing down an improvised explosive device through an elevator shaft. The explosion infuriates the FBI, who calls him on the walkie-talkie to complain about the shattered glass. Bruce Willis says, “Glass, who gives a fuck about glass?” Those who are focusing on the looting try to use that as some sort of proof that Katrina victims deserve their situation, like a poor person deserves to live in a ghetto because they “don’t work hard enough.” Explaining them the social causes of poverty and race it met with a confused, blank stare, since you share with them facts that their daddy didn’t teach them while growing up. It’s a shame how racist beliefs prevent otherwise normal people from empathizing with those seriously in need.
Many say that it is disgusting of the left to politicize the issue and blame Bush during this crisis. Coming from those who politicized a blow job and used it to impeach a standing President, I’d say they have a lot of nerve. This administration has failed the people of New Orleans and I’ll be damned if no one is going to be held accountable. While George Bush was strumming the guitar, and Condi Rice was shopping for shoes and playing tennis, the relief effort for perhaps the biggest natural disaster in the history of this country was bungled beyond belief. And I almost forgot about Dick Cheney, who is still on vacation. It’s not that unexpected to see the administration so detached from reality for they have done it with the economy and they have done it with Iraq, painting a lessening insurgency on its “last throes” as violence continued to intensify. Even respected journalists are tired of the conservative spin. The crucial moment after the hurricane passed to restore order was missed, allowing groups of thugs to terrorize the area, providing the government with a much needed excuse of why relief could not be provided in a timely matter.
The administration’s hype since 9/11 of increasing security for Americans and protecting the homeland has turned out to be one big sham. Billions of dollars have been spent on the Department of Homeland Security, but apparently only to respond to fantasy terrorist attacks and not natural disasters such as strong hurricanes which are sorta known for hitting this country. The joke of the organization known as FEMA has been revealed, and other than providing flood insurance I’m not really sure they have any other duty except for giving television interviews to let everyone know that “help is coming” (while criticizing hurricane victims at the same time). FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security should have a plan to deal with every possible natural disaster that occurs in this country, especially the one concerning the flooding of New Orleans which has been discussed plenty in scientific and media circles for the past decade. Unfortunately, the flooding is getting played out exactly as described. When President Bush says, “I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees,” he is either lying or showing his true incompetence as leader of this country, something he’s shown many times already with his handling of domestic terror policy, the economy (more tax cuts!), and lies about the invasion of Iraq.
If the government takes over three days to simply drop food and water for 60,000 stranded people, I shudder to think what would happen if there was a large terrorist attack in a major US city. Our inability to handle this disaster has exposed our vulnerability, but as long as we search every passenger that borders a plane, the window dressing of security is good enough to give the impression that we got things under control.
The latest talking point coming from the administration and other conservatives goes something like this: “There will be plenty of time to assign blame for the delayed rescue effort.” Another simple deflection that in this microwave-speed culture works time and time again. Several months from now as the people of New Orleans build a life in some new place, everybody will forget about the abysmal relief effort, the human suffering, and the casual response of our politicians, instead focusing on increasing gas prices and how it is too expensive to fill up the Ford Explorer to take Cody to soccer practice. I have lost all hope that the people of this country will actually care to remember something that happened more than a month ago.