Is This What We’ve Become?

Is This What We’ve Become?

What has happened to our country? When did we become a nation who abandons our sick, our elderly, and our poor in the face of what everyone thought was, until the last minute, a Category 5 Hurricane? When did we become the kind of nation that tolerates that our elderly are dying and being left outside the Superdome like detritus? What would have happened if this man hadn’t come along? Would someone’s grandfather just be left out there, dead on a park bench? When did we become the kind of country that just leaves it’s poor and sick and old to drown in their own attics? I’m horrified.

This is how we’re organizing disasters? We just tell people there’s trouble coming, and then blame them when they can’t get out of the way? Have we become so insulated behind our gated communities that no one remembers what it’s like to be broke? To not have fifty bucks to fill the gas tank in the car you don’t even own so you can get out of town. Over on TPM Cafe, a reader notes that a lot of those people we just abandoned in New Orleans live on government checks, and those checks come in on the 1st of the month. The hurricane hit on the 29th. Have we become so rich and so soft that everyone has forgotten what it means to live paycheck to paycheck? What’s going to happen to all these people now that they’ve lost their jobs? I worked mostly hourly wage jobs until about five years ago, and I never had enough money to live a week or two, much less the 12 to 18 weeks the authorities are currently discussing without those wage jobs.

When did we go from waging a War on Poverty to waging a War on the Poor? All I can think is that this is what we get when we let the free-market ideologues take over our country. A world in which our old people die in disasters from which they could have been saved. A world in which the needy and less fortunate are considered absoltuely disposable. In which they are blamed for their own misfortune, despised for their bad luck, and in which a large proportion of our population seems to have turned a blind eye to their need.

And then Bush comes out this morning and says “I don’t think anyone could have anticipated the breach in the levees.” The Times Picayune has run an entire series of articles about how the authorities anticipated exactly such a breach, and how the Bush administration cut the funding for the prevention of exactly this event. Sounds like Bush’s rhetoric after 9/11 — “no one could have anticipated…” when they had intelligence that absolutely anticipated.

So, please give. Click the ad in the sidebar. Check your corporate intranets if you work for the sort of company like I do, who will match your donations. And call your representatives and senators, tell them that this kind of mismanagement has got to stop.

One thought on “Is This What We’ve Become?

  1. Well said. No, I do not think this is what all of us have become, as I belief there are many compassionate people in this country. I do believe this is what our government has become — I believe it reveals exactly the mindset and nature of the current administration. I am heart broken and frustrated, as it appears the majority of citizens in this country are, by the lack of effective measures before, and the lack of immediate response after, this disaster. The help must arrive NOW, but regardless of the help that does come, whenever it finally arrives, will be too too too horribly late in the coming. Inexcusably late in the coming.

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