It's hard to caricature the views of conservatives, who take such offense when they're accused by liberals of being heartless and greedy. But when bloggers at right-wing sites such as Townhall.com proudly proclaim, "It's time to get over Katrina already," then the true heart of darkness inside today's conservatives is exposed for all to see. John Hawkins writes (apparently, he's not a parody, like "Ed Anger," created by the Weekly World News):
Two years after Katrina, everywhere you turn, there are people carping, whining, and kvetching. Just why hasn't the pity party for the citizens of New Orleans run out of booze and chips yet?
It's not as if hurricanes are a once a millennium event in the United States. In fact, residents of Florida have so many of them that they don't even cancel a barbecue for anything under a Category 3.
Moreover, people lose their homes in this country every day of the year. If it isn't a hurricane, it's an earthquake. If it isn't an earthquake, it's a tornado. If it isn't a tornado, it's a fire. If it isn't a fire, it's a flood. Yet nobody sits and frets about John Doe, age 58, who lost his house in a flash flood two years ago or Jane Doe, age 60, who had her house blown away by a twister back in 2005.
But, we're all supposed to eternally sit around and weep tiny little tears of sadness for the people who really took it on the chin in a hurricane because they chose to live in a city shaped like a soup bowl on the coast. Let me tell all the citizens of New Orleans something that should have been told to them 18 months ago: it's time to stop playing the sympathy card and get over it.
Nobody is owed a living for the rest of his life because he had a bad break two years ago. Yet, we still have people affected by Katrina who have FEMA paying their rent. How sad and pathetic is it that these shiftless people are still leaching off their fellow citizens? Since when is being in the path of a hurricane supposed to give you a permanent "Get Out of Work Free" card?
In this right-wing analysis, we're simply supposed to forget about all that's happened in the federal response to Katrina. We're supposed to forget about the billions promised to homeowners and other residents to reclaim their lives after the criminal neglect of the Bush Administration and the Army Corps of Engineers, the nearly 2,000 dead, the hundreds of thousands left stranded, a major city allowed to die, the federal goverment officials who couldn't be bothered to come to the aid of people dying on TV for nearly a week, those corpses left abandoned in the convention center and Superdome while Brownie and Chertoff and Bush dithered as they blamed the Democrats in Louisiana for not filing their requests for help using the right federally mandated jargon and forms. It's all been chronicled in such investigative books as Disaster: Hurricane Katrina and the failure of Homeland Security.
As Publisher's Weekly summarized this chronicle:
The fatal inundation of New Orleans was no natural disaster, argues this hard-hitting investigative report. Wall Street Journal reporters Cooper and Block finger two very man-made causes of the tragedy. The first was the decades-long failure of local officials and the Army Corps of Engineers to fix New Orleans' poorly designed and constructed levees and floodwalls, which collapsed under moderate hurricane conditions. The second and more spectacular was the breakdown of the Federal Emergency Management Agency after its incorporation into the Department of Homeland Security, which cut FEMA's funding and authority and reoriented it toward the national obsession with terrorism. The result, when the flood came, was a bumbling federal response hobbled by complacent planning, miscommunication, red tape (even recovery of the dead was delayed by paperwork) and an inability to deliver promised supplies and transportation. The authors' exhaustively researched account slogs through the intricacies of this bureaucratic nightmare and goes beyond the usual pillorying of FEMA head Michael Brown to criticize higher officials in the White House and, especially, DHS.
But to conservatives, who don't believe there is any proper role for government except to cut taxes, pre-emptively wage war and offer contracts for GOP donors, Katrina was proof that government can't work and the poor in New Orleans, in essence, deserved to suffer and die.
As one rabid reader to the Townhall blog declared:
The levee walls will be like the Wailing Wall in Israel and maybe we'll all be ordered to dawn [sic] white garbs and trek down there to engage in public self criticism, before we empty our pockets so that those New Orleans can continue to do nothing but bellyache about how this is such a racist, unsympathetic country - unlike Cuba, Red China and North Korea.
All of this we'll do because no one has the leadership or the courage to grab those people down there by the neck, look them in their beady, ungrateful eyes, and tell those sorry wastes to get to work.
These are some of the people who voted President Bush into power and will help make sure that the federal government will continue to offer, under this administration, more empty promises than real help to those who need it.