Katrina's Real Victims: Justice and Equality
Steven Senne / AP
"There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people." Howard Zinn
Okay, let's air the dirty laundry now that it's really started to stink. The lack of immediate response by the federal government to the thousands of predominantly black victims held hostage in New Orleans was nothing less than rampant Racism at its worst.
No more excuses. No more denials. No more lies. Just the plain, cold Truth. As New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has said: if even a fraction of White Americans were trapped, say, in Orange County, California without food, water, medical attention or other basic necessities, help would have arrived within hours, not days. We all know this, and it's time the rest of us said it out loud.
George W. Bush and his administration are elitist, anti-egalitarian, male chauvinists and racists. Period. They had ample warning to prepare for this disaster yet they sat on their lily white hands. And after Katrina hit, with the scope of the tragedy immediately apparent, they dillied and dallied while black New Orleans residents suffered and died.
What legitimate reason can they give for such an unconscionable lack of first response? "We didn't know..." "We didn't expect..." "It's not acceptable..." BULL. They knew, they expected. And it's the lack of crisis leadership by the commander in chief that's not acceptable. From the top down, they just didn't give a damn. Because this particular segment of the population has no Value to them.
A few months ago, Bush and his fellow Right Wingnuts threw themselves into a tizzy over one brain dead white woman -- because she had Political Currency. If Terri Schiavo had been Kanisha Washington, they wouldn't have given her the time of day.
Just as they displayed no sense of urgency or obligation to rush to the aid of a bunch of poor black New Orleans citizens -- who, even if they vote, probably don't vote for Republicans. And why the hell should they? The Right Wing's record of support for society's disenfranchised is already disgraceful. Now, in the wake of Katrina it's become downright criminal.
Republicans think they hide their contempt so well. But Katrina's fury stripped off their Compassionate Conservative clothes and we saw them for what they really are: nakedly opportunistic Rich White Men (and a few men and women of color who've gained power and money by association with them) who have only disdain for any class, race, person or group not One of Them.
It's ugly. One look at the Superdome and the Convention Center teaming with miserable, forgotten humanity recalls too many other shameful places in history: The Warsaw Ghetto. The Gulag Archipelago. South Africa's Soweto. The Sudan's Darfur. Or, as I've said already, any slave auction in pre Civil War south. There can be no excuse for such wanton disregard for human life.
It's outrageous. This President earned a halo after 9/11 -- not for his own commanding and heartfelt actions, but on the backs of truly caring and brave Americans who Did the Right Thing instantly and with genuine color blindness and Good Will Toward All.
It's obscene. What Right Thing has George Bush done to rally the country during this new and horrendous tragedy? He used black Katrina victims as photo ops during his overdue, slick, quick trip to the ravaged south. He didn't comfort any victims, he insulted all of them -- and the dedicated Americans who have been working tirelessly to aid them.
It's evil. The Bush administration has the blood of thousands of black victims on its hands. I'll bet the president washed his hands many times after leaving -- not from images of that blood, but from distaste at having to touch so many wet, dirty African Americans. Yes, that's a horrible thought. But the black cat is out of the bag. And the president's not Lady MacBeth in cowboy boots.
It's despicable. The real George W. Bush is exposed as a gravely deficient leader who, at heart, doesn't care about arguably the neediest of his fellow Americans. He has yet to apologize or accept even the smallest degree of personal responsibility. He just keeps promising heads will roll -- but what about the one that wears the crown? He set the tone. He let the response lag. His lack of timely command allowed thousands to die, terribly and needlessly.
Yet in essence, President Bush is blaming the victims for creating his newest political nightmare. My friend Swami Uptown is eloquent on that subject. He's as mad as I am, and surely we're not alone. What should the country do about our president's criminal negligence?
Personally I favor a good old fashioned Southern lynching. But I'll settle for impeachment.
Labels: Hurricane Harangues