Wednesday, September 07, 2005


I'm reading the news and blogs this afternoon. Reading about how Pat Robertson's group, Operation Blessing, is getting primo real estate in FEMA press releases about charitable groups for hurricane relief. Reading about how the Rove Rangers are in full armored gear, letting the world know that Bush refuses to play the Blame Game regarding the federal Katrina response. Unless, of course, it's the Bush administration blaming the state and local administrations' responses to Katrina. Reading the new UN report on poverty, which says that in many of the world's poorest nations, the poor are doing worse than they were five years ago. And I'm scared.

That probably sounds childish. Naive. So sue me. That's how I'm feeling these days. Unprotected. I didn't realize that I was still depending on my government in some emotional or physical way for my safety. But apparently, I was. And I've come to see that, even for this middle-class white woman, the government is supremely undependable. I cannot count on my government to keep me safe.

I guess that's what the Republicans have wanted me to learn all along. They've been busy for 20 to 30 years, trying to dismantle the New Deal, trying to persuade us all that the federal government shouldn't be a societal safety net. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, your Air Jordan shoelaces, your Walmart canvas tennie velcros.

Well, I'm not persuaded that our government
shouldn't be society's safety net. But I am becoming persuaded that it isn't. And that truly scares me.

I know. Welcome to the real world, Liz. Welcome to the world that ethnic and racial minorities have lived in forever. Welcome to the world that the poor have lived in forever. Welcome to uncertainty and aloneness.

I've never trusted Bush. But I really didn't think he and his administration would leave people to die. I really didn't think they were that uncaring or plain stupid. OK. I've always thought he was stupid. But at least intelligent enough to see that poor disaster management would look bad on his post-Presidential resume. Guess not.

Far worse than the stupid charge is the clear uncaring. God. The rest of the United States was glued to the tube, to the radio, to the Internet during the lead up and first 48 hours of Katrina. The Bush administration, as a whole, was on vacation. Apparently info doesn't permeate the thick skull of Republicans while on vacation, as Bush et al managed to
attend many briefings about the disaster yet don't seem to have actually remembered any of the information given in those briefings.

How could he sit through those briefings, how could he receive all the information he has in the past week and still give a rat's ass about covering his own? I know we all want to look good, on some level or another. Care about what people think of us. Our "legacy" as Presidential historians call it. But I hope there comes a time and place for each of us when we abandon how we look and what others think of us. A time when we truly get that it's not all about
me. It's all about us.

It frightens me deeply to realize that our President does not get that. How can I depend on someone who is so narcissistic ? How can we depend on a system that is so entrenchedly narcissistic? We have allowed our political system to turn into this chamberpot. And then, those in charge remove the chamberpot and directly piss on the poor--and the rest of us, as best they can.

In the great world viewpoint of the Republicans, we would all take care of one another during crisis' like these. And we have been. My faith in humanity continues. People from around the world, as well as our next door neighbors, are caring for those people in New Orleans and Mississippi. It's my faith in the humanity of those in charge of us that is deeply shaken.

Because we are not enough. We are not big enough to tackle a 4 hurricane. Probably not big enough to tackle a WMD strike of any size, either. We need our government. We need our government to be smart and thoughtful and efficient and effective.

Saving grace here? Our government needs us to stay in power. Please, please, please vote this administration and its legacy out of office. Vote in an administration whose biggest sin is caring about people too much. Spending too much money on taking care of those in need. Vote in government who will go into debt saving people, not killing not. Vote in a President who will spend more time governing during a hurricane than playing guitar and sharing cake.

Until tomorrow,


Anonymous Dan (the neighbor) said...

Thank you for this post, Liz. Very, very well said.

9:35 AM  

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