The Weakest Link
Wow. For the past few days, like everyone else, I've been reading blogs and news stories about New Orleans and Katrina. Yikes. The first lesson I've learned is that there are hundreds of people better-informed than I am writing well-researched and thought-provoking stories. There are also hundreds of ignorant people spouting drivel. As someone new to the blogosphere I've been finding that the mainstream media is too slow, too biased, and too worried about offending their Republican supporters to do their jobs. The only source I still read (now that CBC is on strike and Ctrl+V-ing stories straight from the wire) is Salon. Blog links, open discussions, and mostly relevant information. And it doesn't make me want to throw a rock at my TV like Fox or CNN.
So the point is that on this blog, I will not be trying to break news or come up with a fresh take on events, but will stick to my own perspective and feelings. That being said, we all see a big problem down there. Bush cut funding for hurricane and flood preparedness by 44%. There was no evacuation plan in the event of a flood and the plan called for ALL displaced persons to wait it out at the Superdome until the waters receded. And there are people justifying the President's actions by saying "We are at war." My question today is "How long has the U.S. been at war?" Is it since 9/11? What about the War on Drugs? Bush Sr. and Reagan said "we are at war" then too. And the Cold War, don't forget that. (Hmm... the war on drugs started about the same time the cold war ended. Convenient.) I guess the answer is since 1941. Hey, if it worked for the economy in the forties and fifties, why mess with a good thing?
Herman Goring explained how people are manipulated into going to war when they don't really want to. "Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country." Surf the right-wing blogs for a few minutes, or read a few presidential speeches and maybe you'll be as freaked out as I am. “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” Sinclair Lewis (the author of the previous quote) wrote a novel describing how it might happen and some symptoms: extreme nationalism (you're either with us or against us), the disdain of human rights, unprecedented secrecy, military supremacy over domestic needs, fraudulent elections, suppression of labor power and the protection and strengthening of corporate power, using religion to manipulate public opinion, controlled mass media, the use of torture, hatred of intellectuals and the list goes on. I hope you find this as creepy as I do.
Theodore Roosevelt, speaking before the heyday of partisan politics, said "To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." I guess there are plenty of traitors these days.
Anyway, if you believe that our society should be judged based on how we treat the least of us, or that a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link, or any of that story about the Samaritan in the book of Luke, then we're all in a bad way.
Whew. Glad that's out of my system. Next post, no politics.