A Year After: Katrina Poverty Ignored - Poor Berated by Some
I added some links to this excerpt from a Shreveport Times op-ed from a Louisiana minister who has been highly disappointed about the political rhetoric of false promise and the lack of action on poverty.
As the anniversary of Katrina approaches, I wonder what happened to the great debate on poverty in America.
Shortly after the hurricane, politicians on the right, left and in the center were talking about the ugliness of poverty. Even the president stood in New Orleans' Jackson Square and spoke about the deep, persistent poverty in the Gulf Coast region. Promises of action were made. So, what happened since?
Not much. But that shouldn't be surprising. After all, talk is cheap.
We've all seen political opportunism before. The reality is there is more political traction to be gained by playing the politics of terror and politics of religiosity than the politics of helping those in need. Recent elections bear out that there is no political pressure on elected officials or points to be made helping poor people. Too many people believe the poor are either not poor enough or they are poor by choice. Not to mention those who see the poor purely through the prism of race and therefore say, "why bother?" While many Americans were truly generous and briefly remorseful there still are those who saw Katrina as just another opportunity to berate the poor and underprivileged.
The federal poverty level for a family of four is $18,400. However, realistic evidence shows at least double the amount considered poverty is needed for most families to provide basic necessities like adequate food, stable housing and health care. The families who live in a sort of "gray area" between "official" poverty and minimum economic security share many of the material hardships and financial pressures "officially" poor families face. Studies suggest approximately 40 percent of all American children live in low-income households.
Let's face it, the talk about a new attack on poverty was dead in the political water from the start. While Katrina momentarily increased empathy for the poor, it didn't alter the public attitudes of likely voters toward them. What is unfortunate is that people tend to equate the terms poverty and welfare. While we all saw the horrible depictions of the elderly trapped in the scorching heat without medicine or children trapped on rooftops all some people could think about were welfare checks.
Someday, politicians of all stripes will take poverty seriously. And someday, propagandists will stop framing poverty as an issue of laziness.
That day may come when attitudes change.
- Gregory Hudson, a local minister from Shreveport, La.
DSCC Leader Mark Pryor Betrays democracy and Democrats
In my book, any Democrat who would ignore the Connecticut Democratic primary voters' choice Ned Lamont - like DSCC vice-chairman Mark Pryor who so disrespects real Democrats and trashes traditional democracy - is a blatant betrayer of his own party and of the American way.
Pryor's the same turncoat who sided with the Republican party and the Bush administration in favor of using torture as an interrogation tactic. America wants its values back!
On Meet the Press this morning, Senator John McCain rightfully criticized the Bush administration's many Iraq war blunders, but I felt that his failure - and his calculated resistance - to put any responsibility directly with the President of the United States was rationally ludicrous and it made McCain look like Eddie Haskell from the old Leave it to Beaver series.
SEN. MCCAIN: "It’s never been the right strategy as far as I’m concerned, since the beginning when I came back from my first trip to Iraq after every military person, including the British, told me that we didn’t have sufficient troops to control the situation."
Eddie Haskell was a well known insincere brown-noser. McCain talks about Bush like Eddie Haskell used to talk to Ward and June Cleaver. Kiss-up city. He verbally whips Donald Rumsfeld, but he tells us what a wonderful job President Bush is doing. Bah! Who does he think he's kidding? He tells us that there were never enough troops to do the job - as if that's news to us. That water that went under the bridge almost four wasted years ago.
I wondered why McCain would have spoken so highly of Bush at the 2004 RNC convention when he told David Gregory this morning that he had anticipated many problems because of the insufficient number of troops in Iraq.
He was overly critical, in my opinion, of General Peter Pace's recent comments about the state of the Iraq war - seemingly attempting to make General Pace look naive - while McCain defended the Commander in Chief and himself at every step of the Meet the Press interview.
How to insult General Pace, then go wobbly on the reality of civil war and what to do about it:
SEN. McCAIN: General Pace, you said there’s a possibility of the situation in Iraq evolving into civil war. Is that correct?
GEN. PETER PACE: I did say that, yes, sir.
SEN. McCAIN: Did you anticipate this situation a year ago?
GEN. PACE: No, sir.
MR. GREGORY: Why was that an important question and what did the answer tell you?
SEN. McCAIN: Because many of us anticipated that we would have greater difficulties because of the lack of troops on the ground and the lack of the elected government in Iraq from, from being able to stand up and from the problems with the police that many of us thought that it might—that this deterioration may take place. And we expect our leaders to anticipate things in war, we really do. And so because we don’t anticipate, then you are surprised.
"MR. GREGORY: Should U.S. troops remain in Iraq if they are in the middle of a civil war?
SEN. McCAIN: I think that that’s a very difficult decision because you’d have to, to decide whether we can have an effect on a civil war if it was taking place in Iraq, so I don’t know the answer."
"I’m not sure that it’s turned into a civil war."
McCain's answer is pouring more troops onto a four-year old disaster that has turned to an undeclared (and hotly burning) civil war.
"DAVID GREGORY: ...do you need more U.S. soldiers on the ground now?
SEN. McCAIN: I think so.."
More troops - and from where, you ask? I would have hoped David Gregory would have pinned McCain down on that one - where is he going to get these troops? A draft, perhaps? I really don't think an uneasy public is going to go gently toward that idea. McCain said - with much bravado - that President Bush doesn't pay attention to public opinion. More troops in Mess'o'potamia? Is McCain brown-nosing to get Rumsfeld's job, perhaps? (Who'd want it?)I think John 'Eddie Haskell' McCain had better think this one out again. Ward and June didn't like 'The Beave' and Wally hanging out with Eddie. Like Ward and June, many Americans won't be comfy with a weasly wobbler like John McCain hanging around our Oval Office. His respect for the President is more fake than Eddie's greasy compliments to Mrs. Cleaver.
Real Americans want to bring our troops home and see our leaders call a spade a spade.