Friday, September 02, 2005

Katrina Reveals The Ugly Truth About the Bush Era

If the rest of the world didn't know already that the United States in the Bush era is a land of shocking economic disparities, inflamed racial tensions, and increasing poverty for a neglected minority of its citizens, it does now. The sight of masses of black refugees, many of them children and elders, dying while the Bush administration twiddled its thumbs can now be added to the canon of heart-rending and deeply disturbing images produced during the Bush Era, including Ground Zero, the invasion of Baghdad, the assassination of Saddam Hussein's sons, and the iconic torture photos of Abu Ghraib. What Hurricane Katrina has laid bare is the soul of a nation in a deep spiritual crisis, foundering for lack of any kind of leadership. It's a feeling which has become sadly familiar and promises only to become more so as the nation's problems worsen. The looting which occurred in the wake of Katrina is only a symptom of these problems. It is the sign of a people who have become totally disenfranchised from the political process. The distance between their lives and those who ostensibly govern them is immeasurable. They have no recourse, no voice, in Bush's America. That's what Bush has been working assiduously to take away for these past five years - from the gutting of the nation's social infrastructure through war and tax cuts, to vindictive federal "reforms" such as the bankruptcy and litigation acts. Over and over, Bush has proved that he does not even begin to understand such people. His government simply does not represent them. His mindset is entirely shaped by privilege, which produces his characteristic insecurity and defensiveness. America is rotting under Bush's leadership. The voices from across the social spectrum are growing more angry, more frustrated, and more demanding. If nothing changes - if the media refuses to hold the government accountable, if Congress refuses to regulate business and represent the people, if the government refuses to begin addressing the most grievous of its abuses - then there's more where that came from. This has been Bush's summer of discontent, but the worst is yet to come.

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