Wednesday, September 07, 2005

misreading: together in a red full of tone

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NOT mishearing: "Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality, and so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them." (the first mother, Barbara Bush)

As if the initial lack of response wasn't appalling enough, the continued lack of resources and disorganization that define the Katrina aftermath CAN NOT/SHOULD NOT be effectively spun by Bush and his camp's flip "Everything's going to be A-OK!" Mama Bab's comments are, I think, more indicative of the attitudes that are responsible (pre, during and post actual hurricane) for the exponential humanitarian crisis in its wake. I hope Americans and citizens of other countries watching our actions take notice of the primary issue here: that however charitable and God-fearing a nation we claim to be, the result of our "I got mine" economy is an ever-widening disparity between rich and poor (US Census Bureau reported just a few days ago that the national poverty rate climbed for the 4th year in a row) justified by a prevailing morality that poor people deserve whatever they get (except for quality healthcare, daycare, housing, public transportation and education). I hope average Americans analyze the tragedy beyond the visceral images on the nightly news and see that tax-cutting conservatives have perpetuated and worsened the plight of the "underprivledged" by eroding what little funding existed for programs that are a lifeline to those for whom the "pick youself up by your bootstraps" axiom presents a grossly ignorant and insensitive view of the actual obstacles they face. How many more domestic tragedies do we need to hold up the mirror that shows our country that policies of aggression and exploitation at home and abroad are not democratic? That in the traditional sense, a democracy cares for its citizens, all of them, not just drug company moguls and oil execs. And as a government so focused on the bottom line (i.e. the emaciated public works funding that magnified the devastation of New Orleans with the neglected levee system, etc.) Americans should be asking which of these two models their country most closely resembles at this time: a corporation that feels no accountability to the public or a nation concerned with the well-being of its citizens.

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