rope. tree. fan. spear. snake. wall.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Proud. Angry.

I want to say this about the whole Katrina mess. I am deeply proud of my countrymen and how they are pulling together to help the victims. The money donated, the homes opened, the volunteers lining up to hand out soup and blankets and hugs, touches my heart and restores my faith in Americans. There are a lot of good people there, and I did need to be reminded of that.

But I also want to ask why it was necessary for so many homes to be opened, for so much money to be given, for so many ordinary people to step out of their daily lives and go to help. I love them for doing it, but the fact is, they only have to because the government has failed, and that makes me angry. Why does the richest nation in the world have to rely on private handouts to help its own citizens in a crisis? This is what federal government is for - even the limited-government advocates admit that. Americans sacrificed their civil liberties for safety, and the safety they got was an illusion. All this money has gone to the Department of Homeland Security and Americans are not secure. The money went to inept political cronies and the victims of Katrina were abandoned to their fate, and all across the country, people are rightly wondering if they'll be next.

I don't know anybody in the affected area. I don't know New Orleans, except as a cultural icon, and I loved it for that. I've been distraught at the suffering of the people there, and outraged at the way they are being treated - reconstruction contracts handed over to Halliburton, with permission to pay substandard wages and no guarantee that the displaced, who've lost everything, will even be hired for the project. How are they supposed to rebuild their lives? The government is already moving to shift blame and to profit from the disaster - to make a quick buck and stay in power. They don't care that people suffer, and we always knew that about them, but we elected them anyway. And we can't even ask ourselves how this could have happened, because all along we knew that they don't care.

We knew.

No comments: