As he begrudgingly performed the photo-op hop during his “2005 I Care About Americans Devastated By Katrina, I Really Do Tour,” George W. Bush predictably did the only thing he does well: utter utterly worthless words. While he inexplicably spared us the insult of yet again telling us how hard he works, he did manage to mumble:
“I understand the devastation requires more than one day’s attention.”
I wonder what (who) first clued him in.
He was just warming up, though, for he wouldn’t be Dubya if he didn’t completely dodge responsibility, and here, one more time, he did not disappoint. After his initial claim last week -- i.e. that everything was just ducky with the relief non-efforts in KatrinaLand -- was somewhat slightly contradicted by reports (of now-confirmed thousands, yes thousands) of dead Americans lying and floating about the South, he was re-programmed by Karl Rove (“Now go on out there and pretend you care, tiger!”) to acknowledge the literally stinking mess, which he finally did by muttering:
“The results are not acceptable.”
Now that’s more like the Bush we’ve come to know and loathe; you know, the way he acts as if he is totally detached from the whole thing, like he has nothing to do with any of it, like the “unacceptability” of the “results” cannot be traced in any way shape or form to the fact he (figure)heads the federal government that is responsible for making sure things ARE acceptable when danger befalls the citizens whose government it is in the first place.
But of course, he is detached from it, like a head that has been severed from its body, which, come to think of it, would undoubtedly register the identical number of electrical impulses as ever occur inside the smirking, chin-jutting mass that currently sits atop Bush’s put-upon neck and bob-bob-bobbing shoulders.
For me, though, the Dumbyaism that damn near gave me an embolism came when he said it looked “as if the entire Gulf Coast were obliterated by the worst kind of weapon you can imagine.”
Close, but it wasn’t a weapon; it’s an attitude, and it’s called “criminal indifference.”
Criminal indifference to the approaching monster hurricane, to its landfall, to Americans drowning in their own homes during the storm and dying in the streets after, to a major, magical city’s obliteration-in-progress, to the desperation of tens of thousands of people who have waited days -- my god, days -- in a broiling, humid, corpse-strewn, befouled, danger-laced, disease-spawning atmosphere, for aid to show up.
A damning eternity, it must feel like to those poor souls, of no water, no food, no shelter, no protection, no medicine, no transportation, no reliable information, no nothing. I cannot imagine the hell our fellow citizens have had to endure, and don’t know how those who have survived, have survived, or continue to hang on. I envision myself cutting my wrists days ago. Every hour must seem like a month to them as they have no idea if help will arrive and bafflingly wonder why they have been abandoned.
And it’s all for absolutely no earthly reason whatsoever, none, other than the cold-blooded callousness that spills in waves from the administration fronted by the gutless narcissist himself, Dubya, the man who can’t think straight, who’s never seen a buck stop, who’s never been elected president but sure plays one on TV. (And incredibly poorly at that.)
The only thing that finally did make a difference, of course, was the uncontainable outrage that has arisen across this country, and the utter bewilderment expressed by people of nations everywhere. After all, isn’t this America, the richest and most advanced nation in the world?
Well, plenty of Americans certainly think so, especially those who spout it and those who sport it with pithy, purportedly patriotic “Proud to be an American” bumper stickers.
I wonder how proud they are now. If they’re still feeling peacocky, I’ve got news for ‘em: they are losing previously prideful partners left and, most tellingly, right.
Scorn is being heaped on Bushco from nearly all quarters (even the White House newsletter, the Washington Times, dared ask in an editorial: “What took the government so long?”). As the blistering is applied, one refrain is heard with regularity: “This is America, not some Third World country.”
Hmm. Well, when I think of a Third World country, I think of one where the already-filthy rich get much richer at the expense of the ever-poorer, where millions go without basic health care, where elections are fixed, where education becomes a privilege only for the privileged, where the environment is poisoned and plundered, where national debt is mega-astronomical, where women’s rights are under pressure, where government is corrupt and squarely in the filching hands of Big Business, where labor is vilified and oppressed, where civil liberties are stripped, where precious resources are thrown away on, oh, let’s say, bombs and tanks and ships and planes while its citizens go hungry…
And where the country’s leadership doesn’t care if its own people die. Not until, that is, the dying is done out in the open and is no longer out of the newspapers.
Some readers may know I’m planning to retire to Costa Rica next year, a country that carries Third World status. Costa Rica has national health care, a literacy rate in the mid-90s, clean water, safe food, a fine educational system, a quarter of its land dedicated to national parks, and no standing military. I’ve often mused how nice it would be if those things could be found in “advanced” America.
So who’s zooming who?
Many, if not most, of us who have been paying attention to America’s gradual (and intentional) dismantling over the last two decades, accelerating to warp-speed during King George’s reign, cannot be surprised at what’s happened in New Orleans and the Gulf States over the past week. Aghast, yes. Surprised, no.
A post-disaster disaster like this has long been in the making, and if it sounds to the ever-dwindling ranks of rank Bush supporters like I’m saying we told you so, I’m not; no, what I’m really saying is, we’ve been fucking screaming it at the tops of our lungs for what feels like forever.
It’s pretty simple, really, but then, so are a lot of minds that have entirely missed this, so here it is: A country cannot act inhumanely and be humane at the same time, nor can it relentlessly enact policies that are uncivil and expect to remain civilized. The Bush administration has slaughtered over 100,000 people in Iraq simply to pursue (additional) personal wealth and power. They are letting Americans die in the streets here. This would indicate to one with even rudimentary critical thinking skills (ah, there's part of the problem) that the Bushies do not hold high -- check it, any -- regard for human life.
Other than theirs, of course. That is, if they were human.
So now, here we are. Dead Americans in medians and canals and attics and Superdomes and Bush saying it might take more than a day to, to…to do what, exactly, George? Bulldoze the bodies, just like they do in (other) Third World countries, and then wait till the next national tragedy hits, in whatever form it takes, so we can all watch you repeat the whole horrifying episode again, petulantly acting bothered that something that is bothersome to so many would so inconveniently bother you and interrupt your giggling little reverie about what a great, God-chosen leader you are?
This didn’t have to happen, but it did. Worse, it doesn’t have to happen again, but it will. Or, it will, at least, as long as Bush and his fellow fascists continue to control, and systematically kill, America.
Mark Drolette is a political satirist/commentator who lives in Sacramento, California. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and his website address is www.markdrolette.com/. Copyright © 2005 Mark Drolette. All rights reserved.
* Lessons From Hell by John
Other Articles by Mark Drolette
Yeah, Save the Troops, But What About the Fish?