As if the unjust war, tax cuts for the wealthy, ruination of the environment, messing with Medicare, and threatening to privatize Social Security were not enough to set my teeth on edge, now we have the utter chaos, breakdown of security, and needless loss of lives in the Gulf region to fret about. If anyone should wonder why security is a problem in Iraq, let's take a look at this week's news in our own country. The hurricane hit the New Orleans area on Monday. On the FIFTH day following this huge catastrophe, our president finally did a walk through tour. As I write, thousands of mostly poor, black people are languishing at the New Orleans Convention Center and at the Superdome. Looting has been rampant, shots have been fired, and people have feared for what little is left of their lives. At times, evacuation efforts were halted due to anarchy in the streets. This is NOT supposed to be a third-world nation; this is America.
Let's examine the facts: For years, the officials and others in New Orleans have known that the system of levees that keeps the water out is adequate only for a force 3 hurricane. Katrina just happened to be at least a force 4 when it hit. The Bush administration cut many of the funds needed and suggested by congress to fix this problem. There is also the current administrative scorn for scientific facts. Of course, even a bit of global warming will change weather patterns and if huge bodies of water become warmer over years, the hurricanes will progressively become stronger. Removing protective marshlands from the Gulf area has also added to the problem. Then there is the whole issue of FEMA which President Clinton actually made a cabinet agency. Under the Homeland Security overhaul, FEMA was removed from the cabinet and placed under the oversight of the Homeland Security bureau. The last 2 heads of FEMA did not come to their jobs with resumes rich in expertise on how to accomplish rescues on a vast scale. Quite the opposite. Both were Bush cronies (evidently a prerequisite for any important post in this administration) who were uninitiated in the art of widespread evacuation in emergencies. Now we see the results: Perhaps thousands dead; poor desperate folks suffering for days from lack of food, water, and toilet facilities; police walking off the job and evacuation efforts held up because of looting and shooting; almost no communication with families split up and going all directions; and total chaos for at least 4 days. All of this in a nation which prides itself on solving any difficulty, and on quickly fixing any problem. All of this in an area which is predominantly black and poor and in which many of the same problems existed BEFORE the hurricane and subsequent flood. People in New Orleans did know beforehand that their city could be destroyed. The local press had done a series on the levee problem recently. People also must have known that many of the poorest folks could not evacuate before the storm because they had no car or could not afford the trip. Problems with crime were not news here, either. Problems with looting, drugs, rape, and murder have existed for years. This whole disaster points up yet another unfortunate example by this present administration of lack of planning, lack of compassion, and gross ineptitude in managing catastrophic events. Most of all, it clarifies the notion that we have an underclass, a "hidden" population that again suffers untold misery while more privileged people like me can sit here at our keyboards in comfort and gripe about it all!
Thanks for being my sounding board today! I am in a rage about all of this as you can tell. Even 2 reporters on Fox news were at their wits end last night. Geraldo Rivera was at the Convention Center holding up a baby and begging the government to come in and save it. Shepherd Smith, who was absolutely irate over the lack of care for the people he was witnessing, was told by Hannity to get some perspective on the situation. Smith snapped back that this suffering indeed was the perspective! Normally, I am not a Fox News junkie, but I was really curious to see how they were handing this latest government gaffe.