Friday, September 02, 2005

I STILL Won't Contribute to Katrina

I hit the traffic jackpot yesterday with my previous post, mostly because I cross-posted at BlogCritics and got a lot of people all worked up. They got their righteous indignation worked out and are probably very proud of the various names they called me, with "scum" being the most popular. I even got listed in Chrenkoff's list of inconsiderate liberals, which is pretty cool considering I just started my blog two days ago! Unprecedented success!

Now I have a confession to make. I STILL won't contribute to Katrina, despite the fact that all y'all hate me. However, my last post was purposely provocative -- George Bush isn't really the reason I won't contribute (although I despise him just as much today as yesterday and have plenty of things I DO blame him for).

I won't contribute because it's been shown over and over again that in a crisis, people heap on the love, giving millions of dollars or whatever aid is needed, but then forget as life rushes back in. The Red Cross will get a ton of money this week, but what will they get 4, 5, 6 months down the road, while people still need help? Very little. Because people will have moved on.

Both 9/11 and the tsunami relief efforts show this to be true -- people were giving blood after 9/11 like crazy, until the Red Cross asked them to stop because it was too much. How many people gave on March 11. 2002? (Granted, money is good anytime, as it won't go bad like blood.) The rush of help after the tsunami subsided while millons were still suffering away from new headlines.

I do my giving in a planned way, not giving in times of crisis because I know the crisis money will show up. The suffering of New Orleans isn't going to be transformed in a day even if the Red Cross gave a $100 bill to everyone that asked for one. My dollar today, while symbolic, will do only so much. So I will hold on to it for a while, and give when the inevitable shortage occurs. I might even give $1.50. (That was just to be provocative, too; don't get yourself in a snit.)

That said, George W. Bush is a jerk.

You may be surprised to hear that I know George W. Bush is not a hurricane, and did not slam into Louisiana and Missisippi blowing over houses with his big, flappy gums. But that doesn't mean his policies don't hurt people, and may well have contributed to the severity of damage, both human and property, that we are seeing in these states.

The war in Iraq is its own disaster, not just in loss of American lives, but also in the billions of dollars it has taken to keep it going. It is fact that money that should have gone to shoring up the levees around New Orleans went to Iraq. Would the levees have broken even if they were fully functional and not sinking or unfinished? Maybe. But the people of New Orleans never got the chance to find out.

President Bush has strived mightily in his administration to increase the gap between the rich and the poor. While preaching Christianity, he has performed un-Christlike maneuvers like disproportionately cutting taxes for the rich, and he's working hard on that estate tax for the filthiest of the filthy rich as well. All this while his endless war plays out. And now in New Orleans we find that the poor suffered the most from Hurricane Katrina, many of them unable to leave their homes because they had no transportation (and don't bring up Fats Domino; there are exceptions to every rule).

Is it all George W. Bush's fault? Of course not. I kicked up a fuss because now's the time to point these things out, when people are paying attention to the world instead of sleepily buying into the B.S. about compassionate conservativism and spreading democracy. George W. Bush cares about what impacts George W. Bush and his wealthy contributors -- New Orleans' poor did not qualify. If the levees were a problem near Jack Abramoff's house, you can bet they would have been taken care of.

And that's why I'd like to see them pay up for once.