The sight of armed American soldiers, mostly white, surrounding and containing the victims of Katrina in New Orleans, most of whom are black, and without water and food, is offensive and sickening.
The shoot-to-kill orders for looters in New Orleans, presumably most of whom are African-American, is indefensible. Police and soldiers need to defend themselves, but an open-ended order to shoot-to-kill is not acceptable. How many women with babies are stealing food and water from stores? Should they be shot first and asked questions later?
Hearing the head of FEMA, Mike Brown, say that he is not making a judgement about those people who decided to stay in New Orleans through the hurricane, reflects such a racist, elitist, and ignorant lack of understanding of American society that it is mind-boggling. What were they supposed to do? Walk hundreds of miles to safety? Most of them had no cars, no public transportation out. There were the unemployed, the elderly, the handicapped, the ill. What is the matter with someone who can think this way? Here is what he said: "Unfortunately, that's going to be attributable a lot to people who did not heed the advance warnings," Brown told CNN. "I don't make judgments about why people chose not to leave but, you know, there was a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans," he said.
A new report from the US Census Bureau, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2004, shows that 800,000 more Americans lacked health insurance in 2004, that the number of Americans living in poverty and the nation's poverty rate increased, and that median wages in America stayed unchanged for the second consecutive year, even as gas prices and inflation continued to climb.
According to this new report, African American households have the lowest median income, at $30,134 -- down by more than $2,000 since Bush took office; approximately 7.4 million African Americans lack health insurance, an increase of almost 770,000 people since 2000; and nearly 25 percent (9 million) of all African Americans lived in poverty in 2004, an increase of over 250,000 over the past two years.
Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean today issued the following statement:
"Actions speak louder than words. The Republican Party's hollow rhetoric about reaching out to minority voters can't hide the fact that President Bush's failed leadership has driven more people onto the rolls of the uninsured, pushed more families into poverty, and driven down real workers' wages. Instead of finding solutions to the problems confronting American families, President Bush and his party have chosen a disastrous special interest-driven agenda highlighted by irresponsible tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, disastrous deficits, and a risky Social Security scheme that would undermine the promise of retirement security for African American seniors. Democrats know that we can do better by balancing the budget and getting the economy working for everyone so that American families don't have to choose between a bag of groceries and a gallon of gas."
If these were tens of thousands of middle class and upper class white people suffering, this would not be happening. I have absolutely no proof of that, but I believe it in my heart more strongly than I can possibly say.
If the American people do not throw these people out in 2006 from the Congress, we deserve all that we get from here on out. If there is any African American left in this country after this, who votes for Bush, they are deluded beyond all help.
Mike Brown, Head of FEMA, The Peter Principle At Work