I shouldn’t complain about being frustrated with the hurricane relief efforts on Louisiana and Mississippi. After all, I didn’t lose my home. I haven’t been stranded in hellish conditions. I haven’t been short on clean water and food. For what it’s worth, I haven’t even had to pay over $3 per gallon for gas (yet.) So I really shouldn’t complain. But this is a blog, so of course I will.
If there’s one thing I have really come to hate over the past few days it’s all the speeches and news conferences by the politicians involved in this fiasco. These speeches are worse than their typical platitudes. These speeches are filled with politicians congratulating and thanking each other on all the “hard work” they’ve been doing. It’s so patronizing and condescending. They’ve all been guilty of this, Democrats and Republicans alike. It’s so sickening to hear them congratulate each other one minute, then promise things will get better the next. If they’ve done such a great job already, then shouldn’t things already have improved dramatically? Of course next is how personally touched they all are by the disaster and then they shed some fake tears.
Of course the worst of these politicians has been the Unholy Trinity of George W. Bush, Michael Chertoff, and Michael Brown. I don’t know who is the most incompetent between these three. Chertoff’s “City of Louisiana” comment is an Instant Classic. Brown has proved to be no better at managing disaster response than he was at managing Arabian horses. And then of course there’s Bush who seems more schizophrenic each day with all of his we-this, we-that type of comments (“We’re not satisfied with the relief efforts so far.”)
How refreshing would it be to see some leaders step up and take some personal responsibility for what has gone wrong? Just imagine somebody saying “We weren’t ready for this hurricane even though we should have been.” How nice would it be for one of these guys to finally promise that The Government will help them, instead of directing them to The Red Cross, Salvation Army, or the Bush-Clinton Charity Machine? Wouldn’t that be nice to hear a leader tell a victim “We’re going to help you.”
At least it seems like it’s finally OK to criticize the incompetence of our government again. Ever since 9/11, criticizing the government meant that you were being political. You couldn’t say that the FBI/CIA/whatever should’ve done more to keep terrorists off those planes on 9/11. You couldn’t say that we should’ve captured Osama bin Laden. You couldn’t point out that the President had said we needed to go to war with Iraq because they had WMDs, but that no WMDs were ever found in Iraq after we conquered it. You couldn’t say any of these things without somebody saying at best that you were being political or at worst saying you were being unpatriotic. So if one good thing comes out of Hurricane Katrina, maybe it will be that people can once again point out facts without fearing censure.