( – promoted by buhdydharma )
The deathers are all worried about how old folks will be treated under Democratic health care legislation.
Perhaps they have forgotten how old folks were treated under Republican rule:
How many old folks died because our federal government saw no role to play in protecting and caring for its citizens?
See, the trouble with not looking back is that we don’t remember what we ought to remember.
Katrina is something to remember. Always. The federal flood, they call it on the NOLA blogs. The federal flood because the Army Corps of Engineers cut corners and didn’t make the levees right. The federal flood because heckuva job Brownie and Bush’s happy cronies didn’t give a shit about the folks suffering but only cared about going to the cash register to hear the “ca-ching” that meant their usual profit off of human suffering. Blackwater profited. Halliburton profited. A whole lot of Republicans profited.
From a fascinating article by Melissa Harris-Lacewell and James Perry: “Obama’s Debt to New Orleans:”
When New Orleans flooded in August 2005, the Democratic Party was a shambles, locked out of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives. For nearly a decade the Democrats played defense against a Republican onslaught initiated by Newt Gingrich’s Contract With America. After September 11, Democrats had joined with Republicans in giving President Bush unprecedented executive authority, thereby helping to erode civil liberties at home and authorize ill-advised aggression overseas. In 2004 Democrats were keenly aware that a solid majority of Americans believed it was unpatriotic to protest the Iraq War. So instead of articulating a clear alternative to Bush’s militarism, they nominated John Kerry on the strength of his record as a solider. Even so, they found it impossible to outmaneuver the existing commander in chief.
In August 2005 the Democratic Party had no clear leader, no identifiable platform, no winning national coalition and little political courage.
Then the force of Hurricane Katrina devastated the inadequate levees surrounding New Orleans. Americans watched as the city flooded, the power went out, and food and water became scarce. They watched as emergency shelters became centers of disease, starvation, agony and death. The nation watched in horror, but no mass evacuation began and Air Force One did not land. As the crisis wore on, the public became increasingly confused by and angry about the lack of coordinated response to alleviate human suffering and evacuate trapped citizens. As the waters rose, President Bush’s approval sank.
The article is a strong one and the reader may not agree with all of it. But it brings up an important point:
… Even as he was prepared to turn back millions in federal aid to his state, Jindal invoked Hurricane Katrina in his rebuttal of the president’s (Obama’s) economic recovery plan, suggesting that private enterprise is sufficient for tackling the massive and continuing work in New Orleans.
President Obama and Congressional Democrats cannot allow this appalling revision of history. In 2005 Katrina effectively ended the Bush administration’s control of public discourse. The failures of the Bush administration in the aftermath of the storm ended GOP dominance and allowed Democrats an opportunity to govern. Democratic victory was possible because the people of New Orleans suffered. This is a debt Democrats must repay.
We are now hearing the same old song in a different key. Once again Americans have forgotten what happens when you listen to Republican fear mongering.
On August 29, 2005, no one was buying that line except, perhaps, the executives at Blackwater and Halliburton. And Donald Rumsfeld, who wasn’t in the mood to help regular folks due to his own political bullshit:
a final story of Rumsfeld’s intransigence begins on Wednesday, August 31, 2005. Two days after Hurricane Katrina made landfall in New Orleans-and the same day that Bush viewed the damage on a flyover from his Crawford, Texas, retreat back to Washington-a White House advance team toured the devastation in an Air Force helicopter. Noticing that their chopper was outfitted with a search-and-rescue lift, one of the advance men said to the pilot, “We’re not taking you away from grabbing people off of rooftops, are we?”
“No, sir,” said the pilot. He explained that he was from Florida’s Hurlburt Field Air Force base-roughly 200 miles from New Orleans-which contained an entire fleet of search-and-rescue helicopters. “I’m just here because you’re here,” the pilot added. “My whole unit’s sitting back at Hurlburt, wondering why we’re not being used.”
I could link to countless stories about how badly the Republican way of doing things has caused needless suffering and death.
The high irony of Republicans now crying crocodile tears at the though of poor granny being killed by the government is thick enough to cut with a knife.
The Times-Picayune asks the question of whether or not President Obama will be in New Orleans on the fourth anniversary of Katrina. The answer is that it seems very unlikely.
James Perry is again quoted in the TP article:
“I think it is very important that the president come to New Orleans for the anniversary, ” Perry said. “The recovery is obviously stalled and frankly, people locally and the American people nationally need to hear a message that America is willing to support recovery and see it all the way through.
“His appearance would generate the kind of national media necessary to make the American people pay attention to the struggle that persists in New Orleans, ” Perry said. A failure to appear, Perry said, will leave many Americans “who aren’t familiar with the recovery to think it’s completed.”
I can’t separate issues the way our legislature does. I certainly can’t separate human rights issues from legislative issues. I don’t think they should be separated. Health care legislation includes human rights issues, includes our views on how government can and should fulfill its social contract with its citizens.
What we saw in New Orleans showed us all, from across the political spectrum, what happens when that contract is broken and instead our so-called “leaders” head for the cash register instead of their consciences.
Obama being in New Orleans on the anniversary of Katrina could send a powerful message to those angry folks who are so worried about their elderly relatives … a powerful reminder of what Democrats offer and what Republicans have offered. It’s connected, you see. Looking back is essential if we are going to move forward, imo.
From a great NOLA blog, Toulouse Street, a meditation from New Orleans on this past Fourth of July:
On this day, I will remember the heroism of the Coasties and the moment Lt.Gen. Russel L. Honore told the soldier at the Convention Center “put down that rifle, son. This is a relief mission.” I will remember the tens upon tens of thousands of good Americans who have come on their own time and their own expense to rebuild a city.
And I will remember that at first the Guard came with rifles and no water and until Honore came they watched the people die in fear and horror because no one in command could figure out what to do. And I will remember the photograph of the elderly woman at the Convention Center, her body hidden beneath the American flag. I will remember the other pictures I have seen of bodies hidden under flags torn down to cover them because after the storm the flags were still there.
And through all these thoughts I will join the tens of thousands of others and Go Fourth on the River to watch the fireworks because if you detect feelings of ambivalence here you are fucking well right, but America is not something I left behind because I think I’m so damned smart and Euro-leftie-sophisticated. It is something that was brutally taken from me, the last illusions torn away by the Federal Flood and its never ending aftermath. I still miss it sometimes.
I’ve probably quoted too much of the post, but I just couldn’t help myself.
It’s all connected, you see. Fighting for accountability for torture, fighting for fair and equal treatment of each and every citizen when it comes to health care, fighting for our environment, social justice and legislative goals are inextricably intertwined.
The deathers talk about grandma. Let’s talk about grandma. Let’s talk about all the grandmas and grandpas who died on August 29, 2005 and the days following because when the good folks of New Orleans were suffering, they found out they are not coming. And we need to remember that as we fight the battles ahead.
I hope President Obama can come to New Orleans on August 29. It would be a magnificent platform to remind all of America what happens when you look to Republicans for either leadership … or the truth.