The Stoner Pundit

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Monday, September 05, 2005

Red Staters are from Mars, Blue Staters are from Venus and Katrina

I wonder if there is such a divide in this country, that we can no longer communicate effectively with each other. I've seen time and time again where both sides of the political spectrum can't even understand what the other side is saying. Or perhaps worse, they don't even want to understand each other.

I'm afraid we no longer live in a country where we differentiate between right and wrong, but one in which all that matters is right and left.

Then there's me, though I lean right, I probably have to say that I'm a political moderate. Fiscally conservative, socially liberal. I used to be a member of the Libertarian party, but after 9/11 the party abandoned me. I voted for W once because I didn't think (and still don't) that John Kerry was the answer.

Yesterday, I made a small comment on "a liberal crackpot('s)" blog (her words, not mine) titled Last Left Turn Before Hooterville. The response I got from the blogger, Alicia, was bigger than her original post. Honestly a good part of her response I understand and maybe even agree with some of her points. My point was only that you can't honestly blame W for every death from Katrina.

No matter what the policy was or who was controlling our federal policy, people would have died. It's stupid to believe otherwise. Katrina has shown us that there were/are gaps in disaster response at all levels of government, local, state, and federal. If the "Liberal Looney Left" uses the tact that W was responsible for every death, they will make little political hay. If the LLL wants to win back control of the government they will have to do more to attract moderate voters like myself.

If we look at last year's hurricane season, people died and as far as I can remember the response by the government at all levels was seen at least as adequate. Certainly less people died last year, as such can you blame all of the Katrina tragedy on W? If this is the way politics is going to work, when the Dems get a president I'll just blame every tragic death from some natural disaster on the President. That would be stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

The politicians in NO and LA, knew better the possibility of flooding that a hurricane could bring. They even had disaster plans for just such an eventuality, but they didn't follow them. Just check out Emergency Preparedness. In the end they didn't implement their plan, they decided to just let the Feds handle everything. Now that's real leadership, isn't it?

One thing that goes through my mind at a time like this is 9/11. In NYC, there was no warning to the local officials that it would happen. They responded quickly to the tragedy and kept the situation under as much control as they could. In NOLA, the mayor had days before Katrina and did little to prepare and then his only response was to bitch and whine. NYC had a Republican mayor in Guiliani, while NOLA had a Democrat mayor. I don't know if that has anything to do with anything, but it should be duly noted.

That said, the federal government's response was too slow. Why? I don't know. I personally don't understand why they couldn't have flown in helicopters with water, food, and supplies by Wednesday. The assets were there. If they weren't, then they wouldn't have gotten there at all. FEMA director, Michael Brown, should be fired. At minimum there needs to be reform in FEMA. A rapid response team, if they don't have this already (it doesn't appear that way), is needed.

There is blame and plenty to go around. Whether we are red or blue, we need to understand what happened here, correct it, listen to each other, and get past it.

It's time for me to get mellow.