I am so appalled by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that I can hardly think of anything else. There is so much blame to go around that I don't know where to start, but I truly feel this shows a colossal failure of American government, both parties, many administrations, federal, state and local. Because we elected these idiots and scoundrels and failed to properly guide their governance, this is ultimately our failure as a society. American social indicators have been sliding for a long time and this is the fruit of our inattention to our environment, our cities, our poor, our vulnerable.
This is a national tragedy and a national scandal. We've been fiddling while Rome burns and now we are paying the price.
If a hurricane hit on New Orleans was one of the top three potential threats to "homeland" security, why was our preparation and funding almost non-existent and why has our response been so incredibly inadequate and, to be frank, also non-existent. How many times can Bush say, "Help is on the way"? That's what you say in the hours after a catastrophe, but here it is days 4 and 5 and his response is to repeat the mantra, "Help is on the way," and ask his dad and Pres. Clinton to pass around a cup begging for handouts??!! What is wrong with this country? Michael Chertoff should lose his job before the Labor Day holiday! Why do we even have a Homeland Security agency?
Why does the PTA have to buy a CD player for the music teacher at my daughter's school because the school can't afford it? Why do poorly paid elementary school teachers have to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on school supplies for their classes? Why did we cut taxes for the rich and corporations if we had identified potential catastrophic threats to American cities but didn't have the funding to prepare for them? Why did lawmakers authorize over $200 million to build a bridge to an uninhabited Alaskan island but cut the Army Corps of Engineers' funding for New Orleans levee improvements from the requested $100+ million to $42 million? When you consider the size of the US budget, $100 million is less than nothing--it is the blink of an eye, it is a mustard seed. There are individuals in this country who have 10 or 20 times that amount for themselves, but we can't spare that much money to save a city and protect the lives of millions of people?????
Throw the bums out. Throw the bums out. Throw the bums out. Throw the bums out.
Let's rebuild this country. Let's help all citizens. Let's show kindness to the poor and the sick. Let's show our children we care. Let's show the world we are truly compassionate, that we truly love other people, that we really care, that the sufferings of my neighbor are my sufferings, that a starving, suffering person thousands of miles away is MY brother, sister, mother, father, child, friend.
One of my favorite quotes is from an interview with Iris Chang, the author of "The Rape of Nanking" about a horrible war crime from World War II:
"Civilization is tissue thin."
We have to hold our civilization together, and we have to remember that our government is us; we set the agenda, we elect the leaders, we hold them accountable. This is our failure, and it is up to us to fix it. Throw the bums out. No more politics as usual.
NOTE: To make it clear, I think Bush has failed miserably. But this problem spans administrations and parties. Our congress is not working. Our government is not working. I'm in favor of bipartisan housecleaning. We have mismanaged our country, and we need to fix it.