Saturday, September 03, 2005

Is this really happening here?

In the United States of America, the last superpower, the nation that is exporting democracy and equal rights and civil rights and human rights all over the world? The nation that is securing peace all over the world, shipping water, food, blankets, and clothing to Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe? How is it that not only American reporters, but also journalists from abroad could fly into New Orleans with their equipment, security, food supplies, clean clothes and transmit images of total devastation and death, but no food, water, or medical supplies could be taken in? Where were the reporters sleeping this week?

Why were private hospital staff members evacuated by helicopter while critically ill patients were being manually ventilated on the roof of the public hospital across the street? How is it that, once the military was called in, it took only 48 hours to feed all those poor people, evacuate them, and find shelters for them - but they had to wait five days before help came? What took so long?

Are they refugees or American citizens? Did they not do as they were told and move from their homes to the Convention Center and the Super Dome? Why were the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of Louisiana on the radio pleading for help all week long, but the directors of Homeland Security and FEMA and our President couldn't get there, respond, and perhaps even apologize for the inexplicable absence of action?

How is it possible that we moved our President and various members of his cabinet in and out of Afghanistan and Iraq to serve Thanksgiving turkey dinner during the war, but we weren't able to get them into New Orleans?

Would our response to this tragedy have been any different if a category 5 hurricane had hit Miami, Florida or Galveston, Texas and appeals for help were being made from the capitals of those states? Would our response have been any different if the thousands of faces in the streets outside those buildings were white? If the girls who had been raped were white?

There are just a few questions I've been pondering between fits of rage and bouts of abject horror at what is happening in these, the great and grand United States of America.

Is this really happening here?

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