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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Republicans and Hurricane Gustav

Three years ago the world witnessed the cleansing of America's big black secret - poverty. We watched poor black people of New Orleans driven from their flooded homes because of corporate greed - not because of Hurricane Katrina. Louisiana's levees failed three years ago because too many tax breaks given to the rich left precious little to pay for infrastructure decay - IE., the levees.

Today, the US Labor Day weekend holiday and the eve of the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis,Minnesota, we're bracing for a deja vu experience.

People are evacuating and reminding us of those broken levees - metaphors of economic promises broken.

It's not because of Hurricane Katrina - a devastating natural disaster in its own right. It's because the inept Louisiana levee system didn't work three years ago. That's why we're mourning today, waiting for Hurricane Gustav to hit in an unprecedented repeat tragic performance. What happened after the Katrina impact caused the tragedy we relive this Labor Day weekend. Government failed to act both pre and post Katrina.

And so the Republicans are, likewise, reliving their greedy experience with failed leadership. Now, the Republicans are scrambling to show sympathy, organizing fund raisers to help the victims of Gustav before the storm actually hits Louisiana.

A a Roman Catholic woman, I call this penance. Instead of Republicans getting their message out this week during the convention hoopla, they're expressing regret, calling for prayers, figuring out how to reschedule events, organizing support efforts and being appropriately sad.

"Dear patriotic Republicans, this penitential response is a spiritual way to remember how government allowed those Louisiana levees of three years ago to fail; because tax money was unavailable to fix them before the devastating Katrina hit."

Republicans would not be in this humility response if Louisiana's levees worked three years ago. It's not about Katrina, it's about greed - people before corporate earnings - levees before tax cuts. As Mr. Barney Smith said addressing the Democratic National Convention in Denver, he wants a president who looks out for Barney Smith, not "Smith-Barney" - getting a five star rating on U-Tube.

So, dear well intentioned Republicans in Minneapolis, you're really good Christian Right people after all- justly doing penance for social neglect three years ago this week.

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