When I first started this blog a couple of years ago, I used to have an option over on the sidebar that enabled people to join a Jackson Blogs! mailing list. For some reason, when I switched to the new format, I didn't carry over that feature. Not only am I an angry liberal, but I'm also a forgetful one.
The good thing about having that mailing list was that strangers I've never met would sign up for blog updates. I should probably bring it back, since I'm guessing a lot of prospective readers still haven't figured out how to subscribe to the feed. Truth be told, I'm not sure I even know how to do that.
Anyway, I bring all this up because one reader rather caustically asked to be removed from the list a couple of days ago because I dared to critique Worst President Ever on the way he handled the disaster in New Orleans. I doubt this gentleman ever read the actual posting, which included published proof that Bush and his band of nimrods were lying and spinning instead of saving lives, but he seemed to take issue with my comments in the e-mail newsletter, which said:
Thousands are dead in Louisiana, and there's blood on George W. Bush's demonic hands.
In hindsight, it probably would have been better to write:
Tens of thousands are dead in Louisiana, and there's blood on George W. Bush's demonic hands.
This person scolded me because he claimed to know people in Louisiana, he was unable to get in touch with them, and he wasn't sure if they were alive or dead. Now, he said as he got all Scotty McClellan on my ass, is surely not the time for political criticism.
And this, dear readers, is the problem with our society nowadays. After it's all said and done, the one thing we need governments for is to protect us from bad things. "Bad things" is rather vague, I know, but it's a sufficiently large enough category to include hurricanes, floods, and Osama bin Laden, so I'm sticking with it.
There's this mind-boggling perception among people nowadays -- particularly people who voted for Bush -- that we as a nation are incapable of handling two thoughts at once. Surely we can't be saving lives in New Orleans if we're too busy criticizing Dear Leader, they say. Often times, they'll even throw in a random comment or two about how criticizing Dear Leader is unpatriotic. And this is where they couldn't be more wrong.
Look, there isn't anything that any of us can do to reverse what has happened in Louisiana. But we do know for sure that (a) everybody, including Dear Leader, knew a really bad storm was coming; (b) there is documented proof from a number of agencies, most prominently the Army Corps of Engineers, that the risk of a levee break in the New Orleans area was clear, present, and serious; (c) FEMA was so woefully unprepared to handle this imminently predictable disaster that 24 hours after both CNN and MSNBC showed footage of homeless evacuees crowding the New Orleans Convention Center, FEMA director Michael Brown actually said on national television, "We had no idea they were there until today" (suggesting that FEMA does not have access to cable news feeds, let alone intelligence or conventional means of communication, and (d) last year, when Florida was hammered with four consecutive huge storms, the feds provided relief much more efficiently -- but this, of course, happened mere weeks before the presidential election.
There's all kinds of other stuff we know. We know how Bush has diverted millions of dollars from approved levee-repair projects in order to pay for his private war in Iraq and tax cuts for wealthy Americans. We know that tens of thousands of Americans were suffering while Bush put the finishing touches on his five-week vacation, enjoying birthday cake with John McCain on Monday and pretending to be a country-music star on Tuesday, strumming a guitar adorned with the presidential seal while photographers snapped away.
As I've written before, Bush could have fully funded the levee projects -- hell, he could have double-funded them -- and maybe it wouldn't have made a difference. Maybe that entire region would still be underwater anyway. But we'll never know, because Dear Leader was too busy stealing resources for his bogus pet projects. He was too busy being a pawn for corporate America to even spend two seconds concentrating on poor people living in the country he supposedly leads.
Most of you know that Tiersa and I lived in a suburb of New Orleans for a short time nearly a decade ago. This was very early in our relationship, so that region is the setting for some of our most treasured memories. Our first home together was in Kenner, which, as the home of the New Orleans International Airport, is now the site of one of the largest mobile medical units ever assembled on American soil. Right now in Kenner, there are ailing people being placed in makeshift morgues among the bodies of those who died in transit or while waiting for medical treatment. Living persons are being placed in morgues, where it is presumed they'll die in peace. Surrounded by corpses and with no clue when or where their own bodies will ever be identified, it's hard to imagine anyone could consider that situation peaceful.
My point is, all that Tiersa and I have lost are the physical settings for some of our treasured memories. We no longer know anyone who called New Orleans home prior to last week, although I do have a couple of acquaintances whose families are now homeless because of this disaster. We've lost no loved ones as a result of this disaster. Unlike this former subscriber to my blog updates, I'm able to sleep at night knowing my friends and loved ones have not drowned in a cocktail of water and garbage and petroleum and human waste and rotting flesh.
Nevertheless, I am furious. I am furious with Dear Leader. I am furious with that imbecilic geriatric bitch mother of his, who declared that since many of the flood victims "were underprivileged anyway, so this -- this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them." I'm furious that FEMA has become yet another setting for nothing but Bush patronage. I'm furious because I know deep in my soul that a country that cannot protect its citizens from a predictable meteorlogical event cannot possibly protect itself from acts of terror. Yet people who actually know people who are homeless right now? They don't think now is the time to criticize leadership?
Wake the fuck up. If this isn't a good time, when is? When my family is wandering the streets homeless because of an earthquake in the Bay Area? When another band of Saudi-born hijackers control another band of airplanes, crashing them into whatever symbols of American decadence they can find? How many more thousands of Americans need to die before we should start wondering if our leadership can be making a difference? Do we need to kill off all the poor people before we're allowed to do that?
Despite what Dear Leader and his bitches tell you over the next several days, no matter what the media reports exactly what BushCo tells them to report, simply remember this: Protection from disasters is not, and should never be, a partisan issue. And if you don't think BushCo is trying to turn this into a partisan dispute, go look up how long it took his Cronies of Evil to start pointing fingers at the governor of Louisiana and the mayor of New Orleans, who both just so happen to be Democrats.