Anger is rising

/ 4 September 2005

We are all likely to go through the various stages of grief in relation to this hurricane. I’ve jumped right to anger today, because as the media is pointing out (and for once, even some of the rightwing media like FoxTV are on this story), our federal leaders stayed on vacation while people were dying. Here’s a piece by Greg Mitchell at Editor&Publisher (a newspaper of the newspaper industry).

"While a rising chorus in the press has taken the White House, FEMA and the Pentagon to task for performing miserably in their response to the human disaster on the Gulf Coast, few have focused on the most telling aspect of the entire failure. It’s not just incompetence. It’s a shameful lack of concern: The 9/11 “My Pet Goat” dithering on an administration-wide scale.

Simply stated, the president and his top advisers chose vacation over action.

While the media has done a good job in portraying the overall deadly failure of leadership, it has not focused enough on this deadly dereliction of duty."

This particular op-ed goes on to detail where a number of Bush's top aides were, including Condi Rice who was not immediately available to respond to the offers of aid pouring in from other countries. Everyone's entitled to vacation, but this is a national catastrophe and I think their vacations could have been shortened a bit.

The New Orleans Times-Picayune is also angry, and today's editorial says it clearly (scroll down the page to "Our opinions: An open letter to the President":

"We’re angry, Mr. President, and we’ll be angry long after our beloved city and surrounding parishes have been pumped dry. Our people deserved rescuing. Many who could have been were not. That’s to the government’s shame."

None of these pieces mention the issues related to race and class, but those challenges are already being raised as well. I hope the anger gives rise to real action!