Thursday, September 01, 2005

Katrina and the Waves of idiocy

First of all, let me point out something that should be intuitively obvious, but apparently is a little too fine a point for many out there: Katrina, as tragic as this disaster is, is not comparable to the tsunami that struck Asia late last year. Tens of thousands more died in the latter disaster and it affected a much larger area over several nations. Not even close.

The Bush Administration, however, seems to think it is comparable to their policies in Iraq. Hey, if looting was good enough for Baghdad, then by damned it should be good enough for Americans. Not that I have a tremendous problem with the looting, mind you. People are looking for ways to survive and it makes sense that they would loot for food and supplies (looting for televisions is just more misguided idiocy). It's the late and tired response I see coming from the federal government that bothers me. Then again, what should one expect when the head of FEMA's previous job was as an attorney and he has no background in disaster relief.

As Laura Rozen notes in her round up of blogs and newspaper columns, this is the same Administration that gutted the Clinton programs and cut aid to places like New Orleans for shoring up their levees and preparing for disaster relief. Where did that money go to? Well, some of it went to defense. One might ask if defending one's self against natural disasters that do occur is more prudent than spending money on man-made disasters that might occur (such as missile attacks), but that would probably get one labeled as "unpatriotic" or some such nonsense.

In Fiscal Year 2006, Louisianan's will spend 78.4 million dollars on Cold War boondoggle missile defense. They will spend 1.7 billion for the war in Iraq. Mississippi will spend 42.9 million on missile defense and 918.7 for the war in Iraq. This would have paid for the levee repair with change.

Still, as nutty as our government is, they can't touch the idiocy proposed by the fundamentalists that back them. I present three examples. First, Matt Szabo reports on a preacher in LA who attempts to tie Katrina to historical racism:

… it is no a coincidence that it is exactly 50 years from the time of (inaudible) lynching and murder. That it is not a coincidence that the storm’s name is a sister. Katrina. For she represents the collective cries of mothers who have lost their sons (applause) to the brutality (louder applause) and the murderous grip of this racist white supremacist American culture (frenzied applause).

Second case of idiocy comes from Amanda as she shares an email that she received from an anti choice group which declares that satellite photos of Katrina look like a fetus:

In this picture, and in another picture in today's on-line edition of USA Today*, this hurricane looks like an unborn human child. Louisiana has 10 child-murder-by-abortion centers - FIVE are in New Orleans

They go on to say "Repent America!" which is apropos as that group is my third case of idiocy to report. See, Repent America is a group that claims on their site that Katrina was wrought on New Orleans due to their tolerance for human rights:

"Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city," stated Repent America director Michael Marcavage. "From 'Girls Gone Wild' to 'Southern Decadence,' New Orleans was a city that had its doors wide open to the public celebration of sin. From the devastation may a city full of righteousness emerge," he continued.

So, how does that explain Mississippi or Alabama? I suppose the former is because of their gambling casinos (nowhere mentioned in the Bible, by the way) and the latter? Maybe God just got Alabama because no one gives a fuck about them anyhow.

While this idiocy is bad enough on it's surface, it's the understated message that really bothers me about such pronouncements. These examples show just how low some people are willing to sink to promote their cause. To take a tragedy affecting many thousands of lives and manipulate it for your self serving ends is a disgusting act of co option and cowardice. If you feel so strongly that your position if strong and righteous, then you need not use the dead, dying, poor, and desperate to prop it up.

1 comment:

Scott said...

I guess I'm guilty on the other side of the spectrum. I took a stab at the conservatives, figuring they would not reign in the profiteering of their masters as a result of Katrina. I like to think my stab is at least fact based rather than the pure hate of the devout fundamentalists.