Thursday, September 01, 2005

And so it begins

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The evacuation of the Superdome was suspended Thursday after shots were fired at a military helicopter, the chief of the medical evacuation service said. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

Why would anyone fire at a military helicopter that refugees would assume was there to help?

There's no way of knowing, of course, but I'd be willing to bet that word was spread that Bush was flying over NOLA to survey the disaster and the shooter was hoping that Dear Leader was riding in the chopper.

It's become clear that the vast majority of people who could not evacuate before Katrina hit were folks who did not have the means to escape. No cash, no credit cards, no car, no way to flee the storm. Now, with the federal government slow to respond to the disaster, the poor have been left to die. Not just in New Orleans but in all of southern Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Tens of thousands of people left without food, shelter, or medical care. Whatever low wage jobs they had are gone. Whatever meager belongings they possessed were washed away in the flood.

It's not going to get better. Reuters is already reporting palpable class anger brewing in Biloxi, MS and if the "man on the street" interviews are any indication, the sentiment is widespread.

The images that are coming out of New Orleans aren't being lost on the poor around the country and they're wondering what will happen if a disaster hits their community. Most likely, they're getting the sense that will be likewise neglected and regarded as expendable.

As the rich continue their garden party with Bush's tax cuts, the poor are taking stock of their place in America. I just read this, about Condi Rice spending thousands of dollars on shoes:
What does surprise us: Just moments ago at the Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes (we’ve confirmed this, so her new heels will surely get coverage from the WaPo’s Robin Givhan). A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice’s timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, “How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!” Never one to have her fashion choices questioned, Rice had security PHYSICALLY REMOVE the woman.

Am I the only one who thinks our country is beginning to resemble 19th-century Europe? As a student of history, I recall how the workers and peasantry responded then and it's not much of a stretch to think that it might happen here, now.


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