Friday, September 2, 2005

Strange how quickly my feelings of pity and munificence towards my fellow man fade. I came across Nicholas Kristof's op-ed in the New York Times today, where he excoriates the Bush administration for, in a few words, their pathetic response to Katrina. Our consoler-in-chief literally told refugees in Mississippi to, "Hang in there." I believe he's quoting from that inspirational poster with the cat hanging two paws off a tree branch.

Here's what drives me insane about my fellow Americans: Kristof complains about New Orleans' unpreparedness, about the bureaucratic bottlenecks and delays getting aid to the Gulf Coast, about the administration's general unwillingness to perform the unpleasant functions of government... but he complains rhetorically. "Why have aid and security taken so long to arrive?" "Why wasn't more preventative action taken?" Mr. Kristof is a smart man, and I think he's wussing out this way: Our nation's disaster prevention and recovery efforts failed because our government is run by incompetent, petty boobs. We elected the guys who are inclined to trivialize and politicize tragedies and disinclined to offer any real relief, and what kind of Platonic, anti-democratic grouses are we to now complain that our government is trivializing the tragedy?

So I'd appreciate it if people — especially, let's say, the media — might stop acting like it's such a huge freaking shock that our "compassionate conservative" leaders are giving Katrina's victims lots of conservativism and not much compassion. And also, I don't want to hear some hick standing waist-deep in water bitching about how the food's coming too slowly or how there's not enough National Guard troops or whatever. Don't tell me that this is an inappropriate time for a civics lesson — if someone had taught these folks before the hurricane hit how to elect leaders who'd actually do their damn jobs in a time of crisis, we wouldn't have the situation we do now. We would have put all those thousands of people on trains and moved them to Chicago or someplace while Katrina was still ruining vacations down in the Caribbean. We'd have a plan for stopping up those levees if they broke. There would have been reserves of food and water and National Guard troops already down in New Orleans, instead of in Iraq.

I stopped giving a crap about the people down south once I remembered that Electoral College map from back in November and how there wasn't a whole lot of blue in the Gulf Coast region. Now, I voted for Gore in 2000 and Kerry in 2004, so don't blame me. Down in Louisiana, they saw how Dubya handled crises — I'm sure they were watching during 9/11 and the Iraq war and that Janet Jackson Superbowl thing — and they decided that's what they wanted. They wanted the guy who read to children while the terrorists attacked us but who'd keep titties off our televisions. That's who they voted for, and that's who they got. Of course, back then their houses were still standing, so maybe their priorities were a bit different.

Next time, try picking the guy who'll give you aid rather than talking points. It'll turn out to be a whole lot easier than starting your own utopia.


Mousqueton said...

Amen Jay; Amen!!