Jun 30, 2008
GOP launches racist attack on Katrina victims
The Livingston County Republican Party is taking up the racists remarks of its hero Rush Limbaugh and launching a thinly-veiled racist attack on the Hurricane Katrina victims with a letter writing campaign.
The Livingston County Daily Press & Argus published a letter to the editor from Howell Republican Tom Worley that basically accused the victims of Hurricane Katrina of being looters, thieves and whiners, as compared to the victims of the current flooding in the Midwest, specifically Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who are non-complaining, salt-of-the-earth people. The not-so-subtle point the Livingston County GOP and Limbaugh are trying to make is people in the Midwest are white and the backbone of America versus the people in New Orleans who are black and criminals. The political debate in Livingston County has taken a decidedly ugly turn since Allan Filip took over as chair of the party almost two years ago, and this is just one more example.
While the floods in the Midwest are devastating and the courage of the people affected is inspiring, the damage pales in comparison to Katrina. Hurricane Katrina was one of the five deadliest hurricanes and the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history, displacing more than half a million people, killing over 1,700, and causing $81.2 billion in direct damage. One magazine even named it one of the top 10 worst natural disasters in U.S. history.
The loss of live can be contributed to both the ferocity of the storm and the short time people had to prepare. The people of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama did not have nearly the amount of time the people of the Midwest had to react to the category 5 hurricane.
When you talk about New Orleans, many did not have the means to evacuate. Many urban dwellers do not own a car because they simply do not need one. It is estimated up to 100,000 New Orleans families did not own a car.
I would imagine it takes at least a few days of rain to raise flood waters like it did in the Midwest. Even Worley said in his letter that, “When this happened in 1993, I had the privilege of visiting the flooded area.” Flooding for those who live in a flood plain is not something new to them. But the biggest difference in the reaction of FEMA.
Their actions in New Orleans served as a perfect example of what not to do in a disaster, and the lessons leaned from their disgraceful performance in New Orleans will help everyone else. Even the official news source from the Republican Party, Fox News agrees.
“Nearly three years after Hurricane Katrina turned FEMA into a punchline, many homeowners, politicians and community leaders in the flood-stricken Midwest say that so far, the agency is doing a heckuva job — and they mean it.”