A few days ago, I wrote about how the disaster in New Orleans had been foreseen by all of the right people, including FEMA, it's just that FEMA wasn't given the funding needed to do anything substantive about it. What I didn't realize was that not only did FEMA not have the funding, but that FEMA has been subjected by this administration to no less than a complete undermining of its efforts. Lowered from its status by having its head stripped from cabinet level status and placed under the heading of Homeland Security, subjected to constant attacks on its funding since 2001, and its leadership handed to a clearly over his head college buddy of President Bush, FEMA has been an agency taken anything but seriously and marked for death by Bush and his neoconservative cronies. FEMA isn't alone, thanks to the Bush tax cut and war in Iraq, various federal programs and agencies are hurting like never before or subjected to outright cancellations. The negative effects of these policies just haven't been as obvious until now.
Another casualty of Katrina is Republican philosophy on race issues. Republicans like to say that the playing field is now level, ones efforts are all that matters and race is no longer an issue in hiring or anything else, than to suggest that it still is, is nothing more than bleeding heart Liberal politics. Therefore, if you follow this reasoning, affirmative action is no longer necessary. This idea too has died as a result of Katrina in a most interesting way. It only took two simple photographs and captions to show how deeply racism is still embedded into the sub consciousness of this nation, even that of our supposedly liberal press corps. Two photographs, both showing people who had, without permission, gone into a grocery store and removed food so that the people who in effect had stolen could survive had divergent captions. In the photo showing a person of color who had done this, the caption called them a 'looter', in the photo showing a white person who had done this, the caption read something along the lines that they had "'found' food from a grocery store". Is it any wonder that African Americans claim that racism still is a potent and negative force in their efforts to work for a piece of the American dream?
The last important piece of the Republican philosophy that we can put to rest is the idea that Republicans have better values than Democrats or espouse some sort of better value of life. If that were true, the most important risks to loss of life would be addressed by Republican administrations and Republicans would be the strongest advocates of things like healthcare for all, rather than one of the ideas strongest opponents. As with the other parts of their philosophy that I have mentioned above, Republicans are great at 'talking the talk', they just don't 'walk the walk.'
When it comes down to it, Katrina has shown Republican philosophy to be a failure on almost every level, by virtually every expectation one has of government. If you think I have gone too far with that pronouncement, consider the preamble to our Constitution which describes the very reason one forms a government, or at least why we formed ours. "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." By its failure to plan for and mitigate the effects of this hurricane, Republicans have clearly shown themselves and their philosophies lacking.