In the Aftermath of the Storm
If anything has been laid bare in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina it is the long disseminated myth that America is a land of boundless opportunity and equality for all of its citizens. A land where the ability to prosper was limited only by the ability of each and every American to answer the knocking at their front door of Horatio Alger, to seize the roaring tiger named destiny by the tail and to ride on its back, roaring in unison in the pursuit of the American Dream and all of its optimism. Immigrants descended on this nation at one time literally believing that the streets were lined with gold only to find themselves trapped in hellish working conditions in factories, in fields or forced to build the railroads that would provide the infrastructure of commerce to the wealthiest of the land, to the capitalists, to the Robber Barons. The truth is that for too long the ugliness of the growing underclass has been ignored, the poor and the black are systematically ostracized from society by the adherents of the philosophy of unfettered greed that is the bastard fruit of the Reagan Revolution: the free market.
When the horrifying imagery of thousands of mainly black, poor, elderly and sick residents left to their own devices to survive in the anarchy filled streets of post Katrina New Orleans was broadcast to the entire world some very uncomfortable questions were beginning to be asked. Uncomfortable to the entire concept of an advanced egalitarian society that has for too long been accepted as gospel to ignorant, television addicted Americans and specifically troublesome for the Bush administration, whose reckless, ideological undercutting of the very foundations of the progressive social ideals that at one time had built this country into the shining city on the hill were beginning to be exposed as the nothing other than the all out class warfare with extreme prejudice that they are intended to be. Once the foolish Orwellian sloganeering is put under a microscope it is easy to see that it is all marketing, wrapped in the flag and promoted through political and media chicanery to disguise the true nature of the ideologies behind such radical assaults on American ideals as Healthy Forests, Clear Skies, No Child Left Behind, PATRIOT Act, Ownership Society and all of the other malarkey and folderol that spews forth from Rove Inc.
The very fabric of the social contract itself is being unwound, the constitution of the republic disemboweled so that the wealthiest can become wealthier, the tax cheats can continue to duck responsibility for paying their use of the infrastructure to reap profit, the tax code rewritten specifically to introduce mammoth loopholes to facilitate their willful noncompliance and the laws of the land themselves rewritten to limit the recourse of the less fortunate to hold accountable those in power. The law is also being changed so as to allow the ruling elite imperialists to loosely redefine that which constitutes terrorism so that the net becomes wide enough to entrap any dissenters to the reactionary reign of the fascist right. Corporations and the ultra rich now own congress, they subsidize the campaigns of those willing to defraud the public in their rise through the system and fully expect to be rewarded for their efforts. Corporate sponsored political organizations such as the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) carefully screen all potential candidates so as to root out any progressives who would seek to close the feeding trough to ultra capitalist pigs, this further strengthens the radical right and undermines the concept of democracy. The Democratic Party itself has become so inundated with corporate hacks and compliant appeasers that it has lost its ability to act as a check on power run amok, and its fecklessness in the face of aggression bears one hell of a lot of the responsibility for the current state of this country.
What did George W. Bush do when it became apparent that his lack of response to last weeks disaster was as abysmal a failure as his leadership of the country? He made public relations appearances, he sent Laura Bush out to appear on national television. He called out the guard three days too late and when the relief convoy finally rolled into flood and mayhem roiled Louisiana it was led by a cigar chomping general, an archetype figure and just the piece of stagecraft that would demonstrate to the T.V. stewpots that law and order would damned well be restored in the American way, it if as though Patton himself were arriving to lead the charge. He enlisted the assistance of the right wing media smear machine to once again muddy the waters regarding responsibility for the disaster of New Orleans and he pulled out the race card by sending forth loyal soldier Condoleeza Rice as an emissary to show that any suggestion that his administration and the radical conservative movement was insensitive to the needs of the poor or racially insensitive to the plight of black Americans was patently absurd.
Condi, who earlier in the week while shopping for thousand dollar shoes at Ferragamo, an exclusive New York boutique was shouted down by an angry patron who screamed “How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!”, the woman who was understandably incensed at seeing a top administration figure splurging lavishly on vacation while the Big Easy was being engulfed was only voicing the frustration of the growing number of Americans who realize the extent to which the pyramid of bullshit that has been constructed by this administration. The former Chevron board member was sent to the front lines to slog through the trenches of public opinion. By Sunday, Dr. Rice had her pampered ass parked in the pew of a Mobile, Alabama church where she deflected mounting criticism by proclaiming “Nobody, especially the president, would have left people unattended on the basis of race”. In reality, Rice has little in common with the poor inner city blacks that she is now directed by her boss and his handlers to champion, she has far more in common with other prominent Toms like Colin Powell, Clarence Thomas and O.J. Simpson who are so smitten with their presence on the master’s plantations that they dare not even dream about biting the hand that feeds them by actually trying to bring about recognition to the problems of the poor and black second class citizens of the land. Rather they ignore them at any time when it is not necessary for public relations purposes, like their elitist benefactors they themselves become advocates of social Darwinism through their inability to utilize their positions of influence to promote concepts of humanitarianism and dignity for those who are less fortunate.
As the long Labor Day weekend wore on, the unprecedented negative media coverage given the Bush administration’s criminal neglect of the suffering citizens of New Orleans was somewhat diluted due to the fortuitously timed death of Chief Justice William Rehnquist, it began to become clear that the GOP strategy would be to triangulate and redirect the blame to local officials rather than admit the embarrassing truth that every agency in America is staffed by Bush loyalist lackeys like FEMA chief and former commissioner of the Arabian Horse Association Michael Brown. The king himself stated that ‘Brownie’ was doing “a heck of a job” on Friday, giving a pat on the back to his utterly clueless and overwhelmed compadre. The best quote regarding the mind boggling level of utter incompetence of Brown belonged to Kate Hale, the former Miami-Dade emergency management chief who eloquently summed it up: “He’s done a hell of a job, because I’m not aware of any Arabian horses being killed in this storm. The world that this man operated in and the focus of this work does not in any way translate to this. He does not have the experience.”. AMEN!
The damage from the aftermath is so severe that the master of double-dealing treachery, Turd Blossom himself would personally lead the efforts to slime and discredit those who would dare to speak out against the regime in the name of the preservation of the real ‘naked’ truth that not only does the emperor have no clothes but is a fucking delusional lunatic whose incompetence is only matched by his megalomaniac fantasies of being God’s own instrument of Earthly providence.
Another pathetic opportunistic vulture is the odious Senator Bill Frist (R) TN: The flip flopping Senate Majority Leader, never one to allow a chance for publicity and self glorification go by materialized in New Orleans as a volunteer medical assistant. The heart surgeon and scion of the HCA Healthcare empire, the man who made Terri Schiavo into a personal crusade and launching pad for the 2008 GOP nomination, busied himself in triage for the benefit of the cameras although his limited participation as a volunteer would not impede his return to Washington on Tuesday for the confirmation hearings of future Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. Did you expect anything less from the spokesman for the radical religious right’s Justice Sunday assaults on the judiciary?
I will never forget how angry that I became when once many years ago a young woman named Dorothy who happened to be majoring in women’s studies at a local college proclaimed that “America is a land for rich white men founded by rich white men”. This was a statement which I found to be bordering on heresy at the time given my ignorance of how the system really works. Today, in retrospect, after time and education have enlightened me I am flabbergasted at just how this angered me at the time. But then I knew nothing of the true nature of our society nor of it’s at many times gruesome and sordid history. I was as oblivious to that which is now as obvious as the light of day to any who are able to rise above the lemming like mentality of the bewildered herd. In a land where twelve former U.S. Presidents were also at one time slave owners, including eight who owned them while in office it is hard to look at any broad state condoned versions of history with anything other than a skeptical eye.
This statement now ranks as one of the greatest truths that has ever been told to me in a world that is sadly lacking of them…
Thanks Dorothy….and sorry…you were right !