Monday, September 05, 2005

Doing My Civic Duty: Writing a Letter to My Local Newspaper's Editor.

If I had turned off the volume of my television while watching coverage of the disaster in New Orleans, I would have thought I was watching footage of a crisis in a third world country.

George W. Bush and his administration have allowed a humanitarian crisis to happen in the United States. It was a sad day when I realized my county is rich and powerful enough to make war, but not rich and powerful enough to help its own citizens in a crisis.

There will be people who will blindly defend Bush. They will say "no one can control Mother Nature" or "any administration would have had difficulties dealing with this situation."

No one can control Mother Nature, it's true. It's also true that the government has known about the problems in New Orleans for years, even before Bush took office (Bush would like us to believe otherwise, though, blatantly lying that he didn't "think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." Who does he think he's fooling? FEMA told him back in 2001 that New Orleans and its levees were headed for a disaster, and that wasn't the first time the issue came up).

But how can anyone ignore or explain away the fact that Bush did everything in his power to hinder the correction of the levee problems?

And after the hurricane struck, Bush once again demonstrated his callous disregard for ordinary, American citizens--especially the poor. He and his administration abandoned those people. New Orleans has many accessible entrances, even after the flooding, but no one rescued the victims or brought them supplies for days.

Sadly, most of the damage and loss of lives in New Orleans could have been prevented if not for Bush's actions, a mere portion of which are listed below.

Bush and his administration:
--diverted funds needed for the critical maintenance of the levees to the Iraq war
--sent parts of Louisiana's and Mississippi's National Guard (people needed in the United States in case of a disaster) to the war in Iraq
--diverted funds earmarked for planning a response to a Category Five hurricane hitting New Orleans to the Iraq war
--filled and developed wetlands that could have alleviated the storm surge
--sharply cut disaster mitigation funding at FEMA
--remained on vacation while thousands died

The Bush administration's delayed response to the disaster in New Orleans was particularly shameful. Wake up, America. Unless you're part of the elite, George W. Bush and his administration don't care about you. Their handling of the situation in New Orleans just proves this fact even more.

Bush and his administration need to be held accountable for their gross mismanagement of the relief efforts in New Orleans. Every citizen should write their representatives and senators, demanding that Congress investigate why things went so devastatingly wrong, before and after the hurricane, in New Orleans.

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