GOP "Values-Void" Left Behind in Hurricanes' Aftermath
Bush crony/then-active FEMA appointee Michael Brown preened in his e-mails as New Orleans suffered.
- - What has happened to our commonly shared value of empathy - simple care, respect, and concern for others?
It took President Bush over two months to appoint an overseer for the Gulf Coast hurricane recovery efforts. Barbara Major, co-chairman of NOLA mayor Ray Nagin's commission said, "Y'all in the federal government need to come up with some continuity about what y'all are doing. There seems to be a real lack of coordination."
- - What has happened to our commonly shared value of acting quickly and effectively for the common welfare?
The Davis-Bacon act was suspended, then lifted when the Bush administration knew they couldn't politically win. One Republican-leaning editorial in the Charleston (WV) Gazette (reposted at FortWayne.com) said: "Thanks to a coalition of Democrats and a clutch of wishy-washy Republicans, taxpayers will pay millions of dollars more for the cleanup of Hurricane Katrina than they should." They call it "inflated wages." Workers call it fair pay for a tough job that's been well-done.
- - What has happened to our commonly shared value of expecting to recieve fair pay for a fair day's hard work?
New Orleans is seeking federal aid and new loans to ride out a $204 million budget shortfall caused by the expected loss of all property tax revenue in the short term. At the same time, Louisiana is slapped with a bill for a whopping $3.7 billion that the U.S. government says is its share of hurricane relief...using the excuse that simply because Federal law requires it. Think about that - the worst storm in U.S. history - and a Federal law is not examined for its fairness, in this extremely unusual situation.
--What has happened to our commonly shared values of trust, integrity, and common sense?
Immigrants Rights activist Emile Schepers writes that "A good many immigrant workers, documented and undocumented, from outside the [New Orleans] area are being hired by contractors to work in the cleanup. Various sources report that day labor agencies around the country can’t keep up with the demand for contingent cheap labor in New Orleans and the Gulf, while people washed out of the Ninth Ward still do not know what is going to become of them. And, no doubt, labor laws, including overtime and health and safety regulations, are being flouted by unscrupulous contractors."
"The only way we can recover is with living wage jobs that go to Louisiana workers first. We are not just rebuilding Louisiana, we are rebuilding lives,” said Sibal Holt, president of the Louisiana AFL-CIO at a recent rally of about 1000 for jobs, living wages, affordable housing and public services for south Louisiana. Gov. Kathleen Blanco, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and the Rev. Al Sharpton were in attendance.
-- What has happened to our commonly shared values of community-building, compassion, and fair opportunity?
Too many leaders in today's Republican party are revealing, by their policies-in-action, that there a a void of common traditional values shared by most Americans. This "values-void" is betraying the empty rhetoric we've heard for the past five years. The devastating hurricanes, especially Katrina, proved that the Bush agenda is emptied out of nearly all of its values, and America is left visionless.
A second conference, called "Reviving the American Spiritual Left--Conference May 17-20 2006 Plus: Creation of a Network of Spiritual Progressives" - will take up where the first conference left off. It's scheduled for May 17-20, 2006 in Washington, D.C.
This is an extremely popular movement which has generated so much interest that hundreds of people had to be turned away from the first conference, so be sure to register early for the D.C. conference.
In February, 2006, HarperSanFrancisco will publish Rabbi Lerner's new book "The Left Hand of God" which presents a full vision of the ideas behind The Network of Spiritual Progressives.
"Throughout my life, community has held me up, lending quiet strength and steady hope. I want now to tell the story of how all the communities, great and small, that make up America have the power to enrich, nourish, and support us when we are in need."
- Mrs. Edwards, from a statement issued through Broadway Books
I'm glad that Mrs. Edwards has decided to make our communities the focus of her book. The community is the heart of politics - and all that politics should be about. Our children's values are shaped primarily at home, but they are also shaped, inevitably, by all people within the respective communities in which they live.