Incompetence, corruption, cronyism, classism, racism and refusal to accept responsibility are all just symptoms of moral failure. Bush is a moral failure as a President, as a man and as a human being.
Contemporary American conservatism is a political ideology built on a foundation of racism and contempt. The callous disregard of the Republican Party for the general welfare of America, and their malice towards poor black Americans, epitomizes everything that is wrong with conservatism and the Republican Party. The same moral failure that led to Abu Ghraib led to the negligent homicide of tens of thousands of Americans following Hurricane Katrina.
New Orleans is the canary in the coal mine. The next community or the next family conservatism kills could be yours.
Update courtesy of Lis Riba from the comments, Riba Rambles: Musings of a Mental Magpie. Thanks Lis.
I was channeling George Lakoff, who expresses my outrage more profoundly and effectively than I can. The Post Katrina Era
Katrina’s tragic consequences were not just due to incompetence, natural disaster, or Bush policies (though he is accountable). This is a failure of moral and political philosophy.
It is impossible for me, as it is for most Americans, to watch the horror and suffering from Hurricane Katrina and not feel physically sore, pained, bereft, empty, heartbroken. And angry.
Lakoff is right about America being at a tipping point, if the Democratic Party can communicate the intense outrage that is roiling America.
The Katrina tragedy should become a watershed in American politics. This was when the usually invisible people suddenly appeared in all the anguish of their lives — the impoverished, the old, the infirm, the kids and the low-wage workers with no cars, TVs or credit cards. They showed up on America’s doorsteps, entered the living rooms and stayed. Katrina will not go away soon, and she has the power to change America.
Our national disgrace is a direct consequnce of a callous conservative ideology:
A lack of empathy and responsibility accounts for Bush’s indifference and the government’s delay in response, as well as the failure to plan for the security of the most vulnerable: the poor, the infirm, the aged, the children.
The deep truth:
This was not just incompetence (though there was plenty of it), not just a natural disaster (though nature played its part), not just Bush (though he is accountable). This is a failure of moral and political philosophy — a deadly failure. That is the deep truth behind this human tragedy, humanly caused.
It is a truth that needs to be told, starting now — over and over. There can be no delay. The Bush administration is busy framing it in its own way: bad things just happen, it’s no one’s fault; the federal government did the best it could — the problem was at the state and local level; we’ll rebuild and everything will be okay; the people being shipped out will have better lives elsewhere, and jobs in Wal-Mart!
The right wing slime machine is winning the blame game and the frame game.
Unless the real truth is told starting now, the American people will accept it for lack of an alternative. The Democratic response so far is playing right into Bush’s framing. By delaying a response for fear it will be called “partisan,” the Democratic leadership is allowing Bush to frame the tragedy. And once it is framed, it is hard to reframe! It is time to start now.
We need to shout it out over and over and over again. There is one villain in this national disgrace. His name is George W. Bush.