Saturday, December 10, 2005

"We can't help New Orleans? God help us"

Atlanta Journal & Constitution, Cynthia Tucker:
"This is far from what the president pledged in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, making 10 trips to the devastated Gulf Coast in the span of six weeks. Standing before TV cameras in New Orleans' historic Jackson Square, he promised 'one of the largest reconstruction efforts the world has ever seen.' But that's just a distant dream now. Suddenly, the richest country in the world cannot afford to spend billions to restore the Gulf Coast. The same country that has laid out $20 billion so far for the reconstruction of Iraq.

How is it that the Gulf Coast has disappeared so easily from the list of priorities for public spending? Why is it that American citizens who suffered from a devastating act of God find so little support from their elected representatives?

The entire tone of the conversation about the coastal region, especially New Orleans, has shifted. Much of the dialogue — especially by the conservative pundits who act as the echo chamber for the GOP — has painted a picture not of victims of a hurricane but rather of shiftless do-nothings who don't deserve aid. That's what happens when any group of people falls out of favor with the ruling Republican Party: They are portrayed as lazy "
Yes. The pundit class has rushed to blame the victim. "Why didn't they leave?" "Well, why didn't they have cars?" "They coulda gotten rides out of town if they had been more presentable and whiter." "Why didn't Blanco or Nagin issue evacuation orders the week before it hit?" "Look, looters!" "They shoulda built better levees in the first place." "Too many strippers and gays on Bourbon Street. So God smote them." "They're corrupt. Your're wasting your money." "They chose to live below sea level. You're wasting your money." "The city's sinking anyway. It'll be gone in 100 years. You're wasting your money." "They shoulda chosen to be born to white parents."

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