There’s something about politics that I just don’t understand. Why are so many people out there so blatantly ignorant? Why do so many people choose a side of an argument because of how it makes them feel and then blindly defend it no matter how much evidence or reasoning or common sense stands in their way?
For instance, take this post by the nutjobs over at Pandagon. They link to this story about the jackasses who owned and ran a nursing home in New Orleans that was destroyed in hurricane Katrina. Despite warnings from public officials and news outlets and several other people, the owners did not help their tenants leave. As you may have guessed, nearly everybody in the nursing home died in the storm and the ensuing floods. Pandagon claims that this is just another example of racism, because the media did not take the time to mention how this travesty was a result of the owner’s whiteness.
Here is how the logic is supposed to flow. According to the good people at pandagon, whenever the media mentions something bad that happened when black people are involved, it is racism. Therefore, the reporters who unearthed this story, because they did not mention the owner’s race with disdain, are equally as racist.
It’s a catch 22 for journalists these days, apparently. If the media reports that a black person is looting, it is racism regardless of whether the person in question was, in fact looting. If a white person does something bad and the media does not mention that this is due to the person’s race, then this is somehow racist. Truth, apparently, has little to do with it.
This is all part of a larger problem. At the beginning of his post, Jesse says he’s going to explain why liberals continue to harp on the apparent cloud of racism that surrounds the Katrina disaster, but he doesn’t really offer an explanation. He just assumes that the driving factor behind the disaster and our lack of response is racism. He truly believes that the underlying reason so many people have lost so much is not because of how powerful the storm was or because the Bush administration didn’t plan disaster relief as effectively as they should have or that local governments didn’t prepare or take an active role. He truly believes that the driving force is racism. As though George W Bush and the rest of the conservative mafia had been waiting for just such a predicament to really stick it to the black man.
Such an idea is preposterous; offensively so.
Racism does exist; there is no doubt about that. In fact, racism exists in all facets of life from the highest government officials to the poorest, most destitute person in the slums of New York City. But to assume, as people like Jesse Taylor tend to do, that there is a vast racist conspiracy behind every door and under every rock cheapens the advances that have been made and lessens our ability to address racism when we actually encounter it. It makes the problem of racism seem much larger than it actually is, and it allows true racists to hide in plain sight.
If we are to believe, as Jesse does, that the largest problem of the Katrina disaster is a racial one, there is no way for us to come together and address the vast array of other problems that have risen as a result. They believe we are racist, remember, and people like us are never to be trusted.
There are several real problems, if anybody is interested. It seems that our emergency response has weakened severely since 9/11, and the Bush administration has not exactly put the right people in charge of the right agencies. You’d think he’d be all over that since it criticizes Bush.
Worst of all, Jesse neglects the true tragedies of the individual. Pandagon’s response to the fact that 34 people died due to the negligence of a couple of hapless morons said nothing of how horrible the situation was. They didn’t call for continued effort to support and help Gulf Coast peoples who have been displaced. They didn’t remind us that we need to offer monetary assistance for groups like the Red Cross and stormaid.com who are still working to save lives. No. They looked at the faces of those who are suffering and they played a race card. They threw a political jab and an opponent who isn’t even in the same ring.
And people wonder why Democrats can’t get elected.
There is some good news, though. It seems that the Kuwaitis have offered $500 million in assistance. This is in addition to the $700 million offered by Americans. That’s some love right there.