I clicked over to CNN the other day and read all about how President Bush had failed the people of New Orleans and Biloxi and various other cities across the Gulf Coast in the failed response to the effects of hurricane Katrina. They called him a racist, they said he hates poor people, and they said he was too stupid to do the job correctly. They went further and called for increased spending on federal aid programs; the liberalization of our government; the need to move to an oil-free system of energy in order to avoid hurricanes, which are apparently caused by oil; and the need to pull out of Iraq in order to bring troops home to help those who are suffering.
Later that day, I read a comment from Rush Limbaugh who claimed that he had little sympathy for the people hardest hit by the hurricane because they should have got out when they had the chance. He said that President Bush wasn’t to blame for the problem; rather, it was the mayor of New Orleans and the governor of Louisiana who should bear the brunt of responsibility for their inability to manage the situation. He then went on a tirade about global warming, claiming it did not exist and that we should focus our money on smaller government in order to prevent future catastrophes. Because higher taxes, apparently, cause the suffering we now see from the people in the south.
I heard Dennis Hastert say to the people of New Orleans, who are currently sitting atop a pile of rubble and billions of gallons of water that used to be their homes, that their city, their homes, and their lives weren’t worth the effort it would take to rebuild.
I heard people on political blogs blame each other for their lack of involvement and for having the wrong attitude.
I heard co-workers joke about people who’s lives have been ruined, claiming that everything has happened because of “those fuckin’ Democrats” or “those shithead Republicans.”
I wanted to stop listening, but I couldn't. Because through all the bullshit I wanted to see what the people of New Orleans had to say. I wanted to see if their voices could be heard over the constant screaming and bickering and pontificating and posturing. I wanted to see if they had any input for this new and exciting political issue du jour.
And amidst the cacophony of stupidity and uselessness, I heard it; faint and quiet, though insistent and terribly afraid. What they had to say was this: Help us. Please. For the love of God, help us.
Then the bickering started again and the voices mixed with the ambient undercurrent to create a buzz in my ear that made no sense. They’re still out there somewhere, I think. But it looks like nobody is listening.