Allow me to vent a little here. I needed to write this, I needed to do something. A kind of therapy to calm me down a little, because I'm quite upset.
September 1, 2005
As I write this, there are people who have been literally clinging to rooftops for four days, without food or water, desperate for help that they have no idea whether is coming or not. Exposed to the scorching heat in the day, the wet chill at night, with sewage, disease, and dead bodies floating around them. And this is all happening in AMERICA folks, the richest, most powerful country in the world, right?
What happened? Well, obviously, a hurricane. But something else happened, something that turned this from a natural disaster, to a national tragedy and national embarrassment that we should all be ashamed of.
This is our governments fault, and our government is us. Or it's supposed to be.
Here are some things "our" government has done in the past few years that have directly helped cause this heartbreaking situation.
One year ago, the Army Corp of Engineers were denied, by the Bush administration, the funds needed to improve the very same levees in New Orleans that failed on Tuesday, and allowed what was a very bad situation to turn into a human tragedy that deteriorates by the hour. That's right, our government knew the levee's needed work, but they choose not to do it. They had "other priorities". This isn't just stupid, it's a crime.
In the past few years, funds for local and state emergency preparedness all across the country have been cut. Funds for police, firefighters and paramedics, our heroic "first responders", have been cut. I guess there's not enough money for frivolous things like protecting our cities and people from disaster; after all, the richest 1% really need those tax breaks.
Our National Guard (the "NATIONAL" Guard, not "INTERNATIONAL"), which were meant to respond to just this type of situation, are tied up in, well, you know where. Most of their equiptment...the Humvees, the helicopters, the communication centers, the medical supplies and generators...all in Iraq, doing the bidding of Halliburton, the Carlyle Group, and Bectel. Our tax dollars at work. The immorality of that war, and the people who lied us into it, have just taken another step closer to hell. I wonder what the Louisiana Guard is feeling now as they watch their beloved coast drown, helpless to do anything about it?
The strength and frequency of the current hurricane season has been directly attributed to global warming. The examples of how this climate change has been effecting the world in the last two years are numerous and impossible to deny. Yet deny they still do, for the sake of the bottom line. It will only get worse (ask me about the Siberian peet bogs), and that is what is really pissing me off. The shortsightedness of this attitude is staggering. The REAL bottom line is that we will all be paying the price...this year, or next year, or 5 years down the road, but it will effect every one of us sooner or later.
Al Gore may not have known much about running a presidential campaign (although he did win the popular vote, and would have won the Electoral College, if not for the Supreme Court stopping the Florida counting and installing the idiot Bush...this is a whole other subject I'd be happy to discuss with anyone who still has doubts), but he sure knew, and in direct contrast to George Bush, CARED about the environment and it's impact. Instead what we got was an administration that declared global warming did not exist, contrary to all scientific evidence, and went about dismantling the rules, regulations and international treaties that protected people, animals, and the planet on which we all live...but inconveniently got in the way of maximizing corporate profits. We are now starting to see the results.
Today, Vacation Boy asked the citizens of our formerly proud country to give money to help the relief efforts. Well, you know what...WE ALREADY DO, it's called TAXES, and this is one of the things we pay them for. They found the money to "rebuild" Iraq, after finding the money to destroy it, but somehow it's now up to us to find the resources to help the victims of a tragedy they helped create. Disgraceful.
An American city, a city you may have visited, may have friends in (I pray every day for their safety), a city I have gigged in, gotten drunk in, a city that is part of our collective soul, is in a state of despair, lawlessness, and agony that it may never recover from.
To think that this is only an isolated event would be naive, at best. This is what can always happen when a government cares more about corporate profits than people, and that cares more about world domination and war profiteering than the safety and well being of their own country. An administration that spends more time and resources on cheating to win elections, then protecting the people that truly ARE this country. They simply all must go, ASAP. By impeachment, prison, or as a last resort, (fairly) voting them out, they have to go. If you haven't thought it strongly enough before, start thinking about it now, because it could be us next.
Our "compassionate conservative" president wouldn't even interrupt his golf game on Tuesday as news of the magnitude of this tragedy was becoming apparent. This man absolutely has no shame, or a speck of conscience.
The lack, and slowness, of any federal relief is appalling. Two days notice of a Category-5 hurricane bearing down on the most vulnerable of our cities, and the government wasn't ready to act? This event has been predicted, and dreaded, for years. Absolute incompetence, if not worse.
I hope to never lose the optimism and love I feel for this country, and the smart, caring people that really are the majority, but the odds seem to be diminishing every day.
Hope is still possible. The remaining National Guard, the Red Cross, FEMA, local police and fire departments, and people from all over the country are doing all they can to stabilize the situation. The federal government is finally waking up, after being shamed into action, which is the only way they've ever done anything worthwhile, but the resources are limited, because they are spread around the world in the futile attempt to control the entire planet. I will contribute what money I can, and if anyone wants to take me and my little boat down there, I'm ready to go. But it didn't have to be this way. It didn't have to be this bad, and hundreds, maybe thousands of people, our fellow citizens, our fellow human beings, who are dying at this very moment, could have been saved. It's disgusting and shameful, and makes me cry for what we have lost, not just this week, but the continuing loss of our soul, our heart, and our true pride.