Aug 29, 2006

Katrina One Year Later: The Bush Government's Fly-over Continues

Decisions We Make Collectively Affect us in a Very Personal Way

It’s been one year since we witnessed another inconvenient truth in New Orleans. Americans were abandoned by their government when a predicted natural disaster—hurricane Katrina—hit the Gulf states. Had we not known, many of us would not accept that the scenes we saw during this catastrophe could have been of these United States in the 21st century. FEMA—the once great disaster relief agency—has been shrank into a club of incompetent political appointees. The conservatives’ strategy to shrink the government so much that it can drown in a bathtub is working very well, unless you count all those people who drown (many literally) because they happen to be “less privileged.”

Barbara Bush (mother of current president and wife of the former president) upon visiting those people said, “Most of them were underprivileged anyway… so this is working quite well for them.” I can’t help but wonder whether there would have been the same response from the government if Katrina had devastated a rich town in Texas...

I’d like to repeat an earlier observation I made in this post right after the hurricane last year, “Our government failed us miserably. Of course we have a right to be angry and demand punishment of those responsible--though, some punishing we have to do ourselves via the ballot box next year and beyond. It is utterly unacceptable that incompetence may have cost more lives than the terrorists managed to kill in their World Trade attacks. Where is the so-called culture of life?

Isn't our elected government responsible for safeguarding us? But, politics, again, is the determinant factor. Elections have consequences and people have to learn this. Voting for someone is not only a right but a responsibility too. The higher the office the more careful the voter must be. We can't vote for a president of these United States like we order a cheeseburger, or, vote for the person whose company we'd prefer over a couple pints of beer. These are important decisions to be made, decisions that affect us all!”

Because the Bush administration’s “Ministry of Truth” is already revising history, it’s worth checking this timeline of the Katrina disaster as created by because we must remember and learn from this awful experience.

Finally, I’d like to include this commentary by Bob Schieffer,
"Arrogance is galling enough, but it was the next story by [CBS news correspondent] Allen Pizzey that really set me off. He reported that Hezbollah agents are on the streets of Southern Lebanon handing out U.S. dollars to people whose homes were bombed out.

One year after Katrina and we can't figure out how to get money to people who lost their homes in New Orleans, we're still not sure if it can survive another hurricane but a terrorist group has figured out how to get American money to the homeless in Lebanon?

Talk about threats to national security – how about government so big, so complicated and so unmanageable, it can't get out of its own way?

That's what scares me."

This fly-over president and his cohorts have made America (and much of the world) less secure. We’re paying a very high price for incompetence, and for the actions of the lunatic fringe that has captured power and the Republican party. This is a very hard way to learn a lesson in civic responsibility—at least, I hope, we are learning. Americans have rushed to help victims of natural disasters, but our government has wasted billions of our money through incompetence and abundant corruption.

I ask, what is every citizen’s duty? Has every member of this commonwealth done something to make sure we have the best available people to manage our public affairs? To safeguard our rights and civil liberties? To leave this planet to our children in the same condition if not better than when we inherited it? Has every American become a better ..BS detector?

PS. I know it takes some time and effort to be an active & engaged citizen, but the alternative is just what we’ve got today… quite horrible and unworthy of our nation if you ask me!