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Friday, September 02, 2005

I'm Ill On So Many Levels...

I know that it was only a matter of time, but even I am shocked by the speed and ferociousness with which bloggers and pundits who will use any opportunity to make a political point are digging in to Bush and his administration in Hurricane Katrina's aftermath.

I mean, if you would like to be critical of the Federal government for not getting aid to the dehydrated, hungry, poor, homeless evacuees down South, fine. Frankly, I found watching today's footage of sick, elderly, young, old, babies and grandparents going through so much suffering to be extremely distressing and beyond frustrating. Where are the airlifts of water and food? Why wasn't formula dropped down so that maybe the reported infant deaths in the shelters due to starvation could have been prevented? Today is Thursday, and the hurricane happened Monday! I found myself screaming at the TV screen while a FEMA representative tried to explain on CNN why food and water hasn't yet reached so many refugees:"Don't explain to us, buster - JUST GET IT THERE!!". I, too, am angry. I, too, want answers.

That being said, to blame the breaching of the levees in New Orleans solely on GWB is just absurd. Some choice lines I found in the blogosphere:
Bush is already focusing on avoiding any kind of accountability for this tragedy. But his budget cuts are responsible for for what we're seeing.
Um, no. A hurricane was responsible for what we're seeing.
For an hour or so, I contemplated the idea of turning it into a crusade: No-one in the blue states (where the money is) should give one dime of aid to the victims of this hurricane, which devastated Bush-friendly regions.

Why did I flirt with such a callous attitude?

Because it should be obvious to all that this tragedy was not just an act of God. Dubya and his diety conspired to transform mere disaster into an unprecedented mega-catastrophe.
So why was I thinking of starting a movement against giving aid to the stricken areas?

Because these are red states. They voted for Bush. These ninnies obviously wanted these policies, and they deserve to live with the consequences of their votes.
Again, the consequences of their votes is a direct hit by a major, Category 4/5 hurricane, forcing them out of their homes? How exactly does that work??

Another point is that Louisiana has a state government, the City of New Orleans has a local government. If fixing the levees was such an immediate concern, then they bore as much responsibility as the Federal government for finding a way to get this done.

Sadly, though we can Monday-morning quarterback from now until New Orleans is pumped dry about who should have known, and how they should have reinforced the levees before this hurricane hit, and so on...but it won't bring back the dead, or rebuild the destroyed homes. It also can't change the fact that this was an act of God. A natural disaster. One that was surely beyond the ken of all but the most prescient.
So please, everyone, stop politicizing and donate to the victims.

Special kudos to Former President Clinton who resisted the urge to play politics when interviewed on CNN today. His quote:
CLINTON: Yes, I think that's important to point out. Because when you say that they should have done this, that or the other thing first, you can look at that problem in isolation, and you can say that.

But look at all the other things they had to deal with. I'm telling you, nobody thought this was going to happen like this. But what happened here is they escaped -- New Orleans escaped Katrina. But it brought all the water up the Mississippi River and all in the Pontchartrain, and then when it started running and that levee broke, they had problems they never could have foreseen.

And so I just think that we need to recognize right now there's a confident effort under way. People are doing the best they can. And I just don't think it's the time to worry about that. We need to keep people alive and get them back to life -- normal life.
Beautiful.

12 Comments:

Blogger Jack's Shack said...

I agree with you. It has been disgusting to watch the behavior of so many.

1:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill Clinton for prez!!! Gotta love him.

1:41 AM  
Anonymous uncle moishy said...

There is a group of blue-staters out there who have told themselves that red-staters are idiots who were duped into voting for GWB against their own best interests. Frankly, they just don't get it and it shows in the quotes you found. I'm a lifelong LW, blue-state Democrat who really doesn't like what GWB has done in his 5 years in office (not even a bit), but these bloggers are fools if they believe that their smarter-than-thou paternalism will sway anyone into their corner.

Having said that, I would like to say that Pres. Clinton was wrong above. There was talk of levees failing and of NO being flooded and of toxins in the water before Katrina hit. That's why the mayor told everyone to evacuate ahead of time. But despite the understanding ahead-of-time that something like this might happen, it seems that someone failed to plan for the possibility (likelihood?) that not everyone would get out in advance and that they would need active intervention. Seems like a no-brainer (at least now) in a city where large numbers of people don't own cars. It's like the advance plan consisted of Step One (tell everyone to leave) and no follow-ups.

But even if I believed that there was a gross failure to plan appropriately (and in retrospect I suspect that the last paragraph was too harsh), GWB is certainly not the first person to blame, if at all.

2:08 AM  
Blogger Chaim said...

OrthoMom, Great, post, need to see more like these everywhere. I just wrote a similar piece. Why people rush to blame is beyond me. there are people still trapped on rooftops. There will be plenty of time for finger pointing in vitriol later.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Air Time said...

When Clinton says
"But what happened here is they escaped"

What does "Is" mean? I used to know, but he confused me so much during his term in office that I am no longer sure.

9:53 AM  
Blogger DovBear said...

When CLinton says, "nobody could have forseen this" he is ALSO in CYA mode, because engineers have been warning about EXACTLY THIS SCENARIO for at least 20 years.

If fixing the levees was such an immediate concern, then they bore as much responsibility as the Federal government for finding a way to get this done.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Infastructure like roads, levees and rivers are always the Federal Gvt's responsibility. Perhaps it shouldn't be that way, but it's how it goes, and part of the problem is the fact that the Feds take the lion's share of the taxes.

12:00 PM  
Blogger Ezzie said...

Agreed. I just posted about you and others' responses in contrast to my last post which showed the Bush-bashing from the left - it's sickening.

2:29 PM  
Blogger orthomom said...

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Infastructure like roads, levees and rivers are always the Federal Gvt's responsibility. Perhaps it shouldn't be that way, but it's how it goes, and part of the problem is the fact that the Feds take the lion's share of the taxes.

The Federal Gov't's responsibility from a financial standpoint, but it's the local gov't's responsibility to make noise and create a situation where the Federal gov't makes it a priority.

3:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Talk of the red-state/blue-state is so ridiculous! I commented to my roommate (as we were in Houston after evacuating New Orleans) how funny/sad it was that there wouldn't be Southern Decadence this weekend - something traditionally held Labor Day weekend in the French Quarter, nicknamed "Gay Mardi Gras" While Alabama and Mississippi and Louisiana are all red-states, anyone who has visiting New Orleans for a second would know the Nwe Orleans is very much in the "blue" category - but for these people to not care about the welfare of those who are still in New Orleans after Katrina for any political reason is the biggest bull I can imagine, and I can't wait til my adopted city is rebuilt!!

3:11 PM  
Anonymous SephardiLady said...

It is sickening that anyone would have the time to sit around figuring out to place blame on. Now is the time to open our hearts and wallets to those who don't even have a credit card for which to buy food with.

The idea of punishing an entire "blue" population nestled in a barely "red" state is just downright disgusting.

12:00 AM  
Anonymous mycroft said...

fOR BETTER OR WORSE THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR NAVIGABLE WATERS AND WETLANDS THAT FEED INTO NAVIGABLE WATERS HAS BEEN IN THE US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS-A FEDERAL AGENCY.

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