Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Black or White? Red or Blue? Neither...

I know that everything has probably been said by now about Hurricane Katrina, but there's something that I've been wanting to write about for awhile and haven't had the time to really sit down and put my thoughts into words. It's also taken me quite awhile to mull this through and figure out what my thoughts actually are.

It's about how it took so long for the federal government to actually take notice about all the people who were stranded in New Orleans.

I originally agreed with the idea that the reason there was such apathy shown by Bush and his administration was because the people who needed help were mostly poor and black. The images the media presented us with of looting and lawlessness made it hard for the rest of the country to really feel sorry for these people who had such blatant disregard for other people in a time of obvious crisis. It was hard to separate those images from the rest of the people who really did need desperate help in the Convention Center.

I also read a story by a liberal columnist who suggested the reason Bush didn't care about New Orleans and Louisiana, in general, was because in the grand scheme of an election, Louisiana doesn't have enough electoral votes to really make a difference and is therefore not important to the Republican agenda. I don't really think that's the case, either.

I think the larger issue is really self-importance and ignorance.

It seems that once a person is put into some kind of power, they immediately forget about what it took to put them into that power and they begin to feel overly self-important. And it also seems that their radius of importance restricts upon themselves.

It happens all the time in big companies. As people are promoted, they begin to feel like they are the most important people, completely forgetting about the people who actually DO the work in the company and ultimately giving themselves big fat bonuses. This culminates into the final insult where the CEO of any given company gets millions of dollars in bonuses while the retirement funds of all the worker-bees get cut to fund the one-time big bonus.

The other part of the equation is the ignorance part. It seems that not very many people really understand what it takes to make this country run (besides oil). After hurricanes Katrina and Rita, I hope it's becoming more clear to people how important the whole country is and not just the northeast, where the politics happen, and California, where the entertainment industry is located.

I truly believe that if something like this would have happened in Chicago, Seattle, Houston, or Omaha, the reaction would have been similar. But as it stands now, the only parts of the country that seem to matter to people are the "upper-management zones". We in the "worker-bee zones" may be out of luck when it comes to getting the respect that we are due.


Courtney said...

I agree with your assessment. I also think a big part of it had to do with ineptitude, lack of prior planning, and the inability to coordinate between different government entities- local, state, and federal. And politicians playing politics rather than just getting the job done.

I feel our local goverment did a much better job with Rita. But then again, we had plan, and most importantly worked the plan. With this fire drill, we found the problems that need to be worked on and we will be even better prepared next time.

Sarah said...

Yeah, and Rita hit TEXAS.