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The Worst of America- The Best of America

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When I saw the looters on TV and heard about the criminals and thugs taking advantage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina I thought to myself, this is the worst of America.

I was wrong. The worst of America are the race-baiters and the Monday morning quarterbacks who have come out in the wake of the disaster response, even before the job is done.

This is not to deny there is still racism in America. Craig Deluz points out an example of the Associated Press releasing two stories, one with whites characterized as finding food, another with a black doing exactly the same thing characterized as a looter.

This is also not to deny that the response seems painfully slow. It is frustrating to watch the suffering, and tempting to look for someone to blame.

But there are those who are saying really unbelievable things:

“Jamie Mayo, mayor of Monroe, La., and president of the Louisiana chapter of the mayors conference, said he’s hearing furious talk – people convinced help would have arrived earlier if most of the people left behind were white, that the federal government acted more quickly when hurricanes hit the Florida coast and when a tsunami struck South Asia. Mayo fears the bitterness could linger as evacuees spread across the South, bringing their frustrations with them.”

Are we to believe that someone somewhere in some cigar filled back room said slow down, don’t help the victims because they are black? This is disgusting.

Here’s a quote from a moobat blog Jimintonic:

“There are criminals running the streets of New Orleans today. The only problem is that they, most of them anyway, are guilty of something that is NOT illegal. It is the opinion of this blogger that the crime they are guilty of is being BLACK. If let’s just say there were some kind of massive flood or mudslide somewhere in Oh Utah, that there would be people that the government wasn’t even aware of for a few days holed up in a convention center in Salt Lake? If we can dump supplies to refugees of the Taliban and people in Iraq, why can’t we get a few c-130’s filled with water and MRE’s to dump a few thousand pallets on Canal street and in the area of the convention center?”

Trying to compare the magnitude of this disaster to a mudslide in Utah? Looters were guilty of being Black? Is he saying that Black looters get a pass because they’re Black? If you’re foraging for food and water, or diapers, that is not looting. If your breaking into a jewelry store for some free bling, that is looting no matter what color you are.

Did you notice that the people in pictures of the aftermath of the Tsunami there were mostly Asians? Where is the story about the racism that caused most of the people living along the coast in the Tsunami area to be Asian? There aren’t any because that just happens to be the make-up of the people living where the disaster hit.

The majority of the people who are being rescued where the storm hit were Black, so you see mostly Blacks on the TV. The Mayor of New Orleans is Black. Did he intentionally leave his ”own people” behind?

“The victims left behind didn’t choose to stay in the path of the hurricane – they had no choice, said Roosevelt F. Dorn, the mayor of Inglewood and president of the National Conference of Black Mayors.

“They didn’t have cars. They didn’t have money,” said Dorn, who said buses should have been sent before the hurricane struck to evacuate them. “There was absolutely no reason for the number of people left stranded there. They’re leaving now because someone is coming to get them.”

With 4-5 days of warning, why weren’t buses provided for stranded inner city people that didn’t have a way out? It is certainly a fair question, but I can’t imagine, no I refuse to imagine the Mayor of New Orleans and the Governor of Louisiana simply saying ”screw them, they are African American.”

It actually has been reported that Mayor Ray Nagin evacuated about 400 tourists stuck in a downtown hotel ahead of thousands of stranded local people. He put them at the head of the line on buses in front of thousands who had been waiting days. But that is not racism, that is poor judgment.

Turn on the news and you can see more than enough partisan bickering, finger pointing and now race baiting to go around.

What I see is a storm of biblical proportions that overwhelmed response due to the magnitude of it, and perhaps some incompetence. I see a disaster response that seems frustratingly slow, that needs to be judged calmly afterwards with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight so we might do better next time.

I am focused on millions of Americans of all colors donating billions to charity, volunteering their time, money and homes, and sacrificing for other Americans without regard for their racial or economic status, the best of America.

And I am disgusted by the finger-pointers and race-baiters coming out in this partisan, politically divisive era we live in, truly the worst of America.

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About SactoDan

  • rhymus

    but pointing out the fact that bush’s administration cut the army corp of engineer’s budget by 71 million (just one example) to pay for the war in iraq does imply an underlying racism that warrants a fair, critical and disgusted response and action. did bush and his cronies not know that most of the people who would be affected by a major hurricane hitting new orleans would be the poor and black? this oversight is just another in a list of many that horribly displays the shortsighted thinking of this leadership (if you can call it that) in its deficient attempt to sustain and develop a fair, accepting, tolerant and safe society.

  • http://sactodan.blogspot.com SactoDan

    Clinton killed flood control measures as well, this is not an exclusively Bush issue. The potential for disaster in NA has been known for alot longer than 6 years. The political will to do something hasn’t been there. That’s a responsibility to be shared amongst all the regions leaders.

    Are you saying the levees would have been built-up in time for the storm if the money hadn’t been reappropriated?

    I think not.

    Save some of your indignation for me, I live in a flood plain and the congress has refused to fund the Auburn Dam as well, leaving Sacramento probably the next most vulnerable place.

    Hopefully we will never find out.

  • http://miriamsideas.blogspot.com miriam

    I understand that it would take 30 years to build up the levees to withstand a Force 5 hurricane. If Bush had started doing it on his first day in office, it wouldn’t be done. If Clinton had started doing it on his first day in office, it still wouldn’t be done.

    Now, after the damage is done, it must be done.

  • RedTard

    “The worst of America are the race-baiters and the Monday morning quarterbacks who have come out in the wake of the disaster response, even before the job is done.”

    I could not agree with you more. I think the liberals in this country driving the almost irrational hatred of Bush are playing with fire. I’m almost ready to see a Democrat get voted into the presidency just to cool down the rhetoric which is moving into an extremely dangerous area. While I don’t believe a race/class war is imminent, some liberal extremists and politicians are certainly sowing the seeds.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    There is an element in this country, maybe 10 or 20 percent, that hates Bush with such a passion, that they will blame him for every bad thing that happens.

    As such, they lack any real credibility as objective observers.

    This is not to say that the immediate response by the government AT ALL LEVELS doesn’t deserve plenty of criticism. Because it does.

    But using a natural disaster that killed thousands of Americans as an excuse to bash the President for partisan politicla purposes is beyond the pale.

  • Jennifer

    - American people are lazier than other countries most of the time… heck I know I am.
    + we have many diffrent people with different ideas
    – over-privileged ( thanks four fathers )
    + over-privileged

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Actually, the US has one of the highest levels of worker productivity in the world, if not the highest level. I don’t have the exact figures to hand.

    Americans are a lot of things, but as a a nation we’re anything but lazy.

    Dave

  • Marvin Blades

    It goes without saying that the storm itself and its aftermath are catatrophic. It is also sad that in the most powerful country on the face of the earth that something like this could actually happen!

    We must accept the fact that it is human nature to seek to place blame whenever things go wrong, but it is America’s legacy of racism that allowed this event to degenerates into focusing on race. If the issue of race had been openly and honestly dealt with in America’s past; then it would not be an issue today (5th year of the 21st Century)!

    Racism is a moral issue; but many have viewed it only as a social and/or a political issue. This is the reason that the issue of race can not and will not go away. In the 50’s and 60’s the Reverend Billy Graham looked at racism as a social issue and because he viewed it as such, he NEVER openly addressed it. Graham was one of the 20th century’s most influential religious figures!

    President John F. Kennedy, who many consider to be one of the greatest presidents in history felt that it was not the federal government’s responsibility to intervene in the lynchings, bombings and wholesale assaults on African Americans. Due to the lack of federal intervention thousands of people died. Why, politics, politics, politics! Sadly, American leadership has rarely taken the moral high ground unless they are forced to do so; yet they frequently use moral and religious catch phrases to give the impression that their deeds and actions have moral standing (example: “I’m saved”, “I have a moral imperative”; etc, etc.).

    While we sit around and lick old, festering wounds of hatred and divisiveness; AMERICANS are suffering. It doesn’t matter who is to blame for this mess. Blame is so unimportant in the face of what has happened. It does however matter that we, AMERICANS who have been blessed, act, and act decisively. Forget that someone who is hurting called you a racist, and show the world that you are not! Let your actions tell others where your stand on the race issue; not your words!

  • http://sactodan.blogspot.com SactoDan

    Marvin,

    I agree with you up to a point, but many things have changed in America, and for the better.

    African Americans now hold top jobs in Government and Industry, own businesses and homes. In fact they largly make up the Governments in many highly Black cities such as New Orleans and Oakland CA(where I lived for 5 years). They are the top cultural icons for Black and White Americans alike in sports, music and movies.

    So I submit to you that we are far from the plantations, far from sitting around licking old wounds. You can see the difference plainly between those who do, and those who go out and get their own.

    There is still work to do. Yet many still chain themselves to lives of victimhood and blame, by accepting the politics of race and poverty peddled by those who derive their own power and wealth from it.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    FWIW, this Southern conservative white guy who usually votes Republican has always viewed a very dark-skinned black guy named Joe Dumars as a sports idol…

  • Marvin Blades

    SactoDan, I appreciate your comment, but you must understand that progress came with a price. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregation in public accommodations was illegal in 1954. Many school systems did not in fact desegregate until 20 years later!

    In that 20 year time period people continued to discriminate and others continued to suffer! Many private schools were formed during that period solely to keep from having to follow the law. Many whites left urban areas and moved to rural and suburban areas where there were fewer African Americans. Again this was done to avoid the Supreme Court ruling.

    This mass movement from urban areas drained vital and necessary tax resources, human resources and caused urban schools and tax dependant entities to either deteriate or seek other resouces in order to provide the same services that these same entities provided in the past.

    Many urban areas were left with majority African American populations after this exodus. What you have to remember is that years before whites began leaving the cities African Americans migrated enmass to urban areas to seek employment opportunities and to leave the blatant racism in the South. Unfortunately they didn’t escape, they only made it visible!

    Now cities such as Detroit, Newark and others with large African American populations are losing the battle to keep stable, high paying employers in their cities. Lack of resources have adversely affected the infrastructure of these cities and so on. I won’t get into this topic, which is a discussion in and of itself.

    Never view progress as a reason to stop being critical. In America critism is a right, just as disagreement is. Don’t confuse righteous indignation with being a form of vitimization and don’t allow either to stop you from being action oriented.

    I understand your critism of current African American leadership, but I don’t agree with your accessment of this same leadership.

    African American leadership has traditionally been the lone voice of reason when other leaders wanted to take their time in the midst of tragedy. African American leadership has also been the moral conscious of this country. In times when we placed capital gain ahead of humanity.

    So understand that I speak not of the things that have gotten better, only of those things that have not. America is a dream not yet realized. A dream that can not be fully realized until opportunity is real for all of its citizens; not just the fortunate.

    Never forget that it was this country that birthed a Martin Luther King, Jr., an Ida B. Wells/Barnett, a Medgar Evers people who never had the opportunity to enjoy the fruits of their sacrifices. We owe it to them to continue to work for a better America; yet never fail to be critical whenever we witness wrong!