“The results are not acceptable.” — The President of the United States
You’re fucking-A right, George.
When I first started this blog a little over four months ago, I wrote a post in which, among other things, I discussed the fact that while intellecutually I recognize the horrible things that sometimes happen to people in disaster situations and wish things were different for them, I don’t really feel much pain or sadness for those people:
I don’t always take the fact that I’m not easily angered to be a positive; I’m afraid it’s symptomatic of something bigger. I know that I don’t feel deeply enough for current events or for human suffering in other parts of the world. I care, but I don’t, y’know, care. I know plenty of folks who do: people who want to fight for issues they believe in or who seem to feel as much for people they’ve never met as they do for the people in their day-to-day lives.
But after New Orleans–and our government’s massive ineptitude and callous disregard for the people of the Gulf Coast region–that’s starting to change.
I’ve been too wrapped up in my own head since the disaster hit, and I’ve tried not to think too much about what’s been going on. I’ve been trying to keep up on the facts, but I haven’t been internalizing it. I know that’s wrong of me, but that’s the way I’ve historically dealt with tragedy of all kinds.
But now that my own little world has calmed down a bit, now that I know my father’s doing better and my dentist appointment is over and my cross-country drive is done, I’m more able to face the horrors of what happened, and doing so hurts. I can’t even fathom the kinds of conditions those people have been dealing with for more than a week. I can’t even fathom the numbers of people who didn’t even survive to face those conditions.
But as sad and horrified as I’m feeling for the survivors, I’m feeling even more rage and resentment for how our government has handled the situation. All of the anger I’ve felt for this administration for the last five years, all of the disbelief at the wrong-headedness and stupidity continually displayed by the men and women we (supposedly) elected to shepherd this country and protect its citizens…all of that is nothing compared to the outrage I’m feeling now.
And, glory be, I’m far from the only one: the mainstream media isn’t rolling over at the administration’s feet anymore, and the results have been wonderful to behold.
I want to share with you some of what’s making me so angry today. I know I’m coming kind of late to the party, and hopefully many of you are already plenty outraged, but if not I hope some of the following will help get you there:
- MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann (long one of my favorite commentators, on a par only with Jon Stewart) scathingly, eloquently, calmly blasts the government response to Katrina. A must-watch (Windows Media Player required).
- John Scalzi has a series of articles on his blog about Katrina, but the one that affected me most was about what it means to be poor, to be really poor. He also posted a follow-up piece several days later about exactly why he wrote that post. I swear, I’m never going to complain about my financial problems again. (And as a quick aside to everyone, including the director of FEMA, who blames those thousands of people in New Orleans who were too poor to leave town for what happened to them: there’s a very special section of Hell waiting just for you. Please don’t keep them waiting too long, OK?)
- Another Scalzi post on governmental incompetence–and even his readers who normally disagree with his politics are starting to have trouble defending this administration.
- My boy Tim has reached his melting point as well, and fires off what’s easily the most articulate, impassioned essay I’ve read from him in quite some time.
- You might have heard that rapper Kayne West went off-script during the NBC benefit telecast last Friday night, saying that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” I’ve got to say it’s hard to argue much with him. You can see the video–which was edited out of the live broadcast when it aired later on the west coast–here. (Via Mr. Snitch.)
More links–and likely more vitriol–to come later.