Editorial by John Ziegler

OK... I Can't Take This Anymore!

9/6/2005

OK, I can't Take It Anymore!!

Like most of the rest of America, for the past week I have been watching in shock and dismay at the horrific pictures from the Gulf Coast in the monumental wake of Hurricane Katrina. There have been several aspects of this tragedy that have been creating a build up of what I perceive to be unspoken truths that I now must get out of my system for both the sake of my sanity as well as the public record.

First of all, it must be noted there are VERY few people who were trapped or endangered by this storm who are completely without fault or responsibility for their actions or, rather, inactions. Almost everyone had plenty of warning to leave or at least store up supplies for a worst case scenario. Now of course just because someone did not heed the warnings or take the proper precautions does not mean that they shouldn't be helped (millions of Americans have already given enormous amounts of money to the relief cause despite agreeing with this unspoken truth I just articulated), however this reality should at least be pointed out from time to time, especially when those in trouble go out of their way to blame others for their plight. To this point, for the most part, it has not been.

While the federal government's initial response may have indeed been very flawed (since we literally have NOTHING to which to compare this, how the hell would we know?), the federal government did not put one person directly in danger and there is no evidence at all that anything that could have been done was purposefully not. Where in the world did we (especially those in the news media and among the poor) get this bizarre notion that the federal government has some sort of magic powers and that as the ultimate "daddy" figure is supposed to be able to instantly make everything ok, even against unprecedented odds? It is almost comical the expectations that people have of the government, especially since we already know that most governmental institutions are completely incompetent when it comes to the even easy/mundane tasks of normal life. If the government can't figure out how to run the DMV or the IRS, why in God's name would anyone put all their eggs in that basket when it comes to saving their very life?!

It must be great to live in the world where one can see everything with 20/20 hindsight all the time and know exactly what should have been done, even under unparalleled circumstances. If it was so damn simple for the Feds to get water and food to people in need, why weren't the local authorities who knew the specific dangers of their situation and who were already on the scene able to do the same? Has the city of New Orleans not also heard of the concept of storing bottled water? Obviously the easiest thing would have been for the people themselves to have been properly prepared and to have listened to the very same authorities that they were begging to for help just days after having ignored their warnings that their lives were in danger.

As far as lawlessness and disorder, whose fault is that? The government's? Perhaps it is their blunder for not enforcing what had been stated BEFORE the hurricane as a 'zero tolerance' policy on looters, but had there been a major crackdown against those in New Orleans, the very same so called civil rights leaders now ludicrously claiming that blacks haven't gotten enough of a priority from the government would have been screaming racism. While obviously those who took water and food should not be condemned, those who stole material goods and valuables, tore down stores, broke into houses, set fires, beat, raped and shot at innocent people and even those in the relief efforts, all deserve a special place in hell.

Unfortunately, the general reaction in the news media to those who have committed such crimes has been somewhere between apologetic and enabling. Part of this is undoubtedly because the reporters on the scene have developed an understandable empathy for those whose suffering they are covering. However, I have no doubt that a significant portion of this "c'est la vie' attitude can be attributed to what President Bush often refers to as the 'soft bigotry of low expectations.' As is so often the case, the liberals in the news media and in government have shown themselves to be the real racists. They act out their guilt by treating minorities with insulting condescension and are extremely hesitant to criticize black people under the unconscious presumption that somehow they are not capable of being held to the same behavioral standards as everyone else. Every single black person (heck, every true American) should be angered by this presumption that somehow black people are not worthy of equal treatment in both the positive and the negative.

Regardless of the delusions of Maxine Waters and others who have claimed that the media simply created a false impression that it is black people who created the anarchy, there is absolutely no evidence that this is the case and the common sense of the simple demographics of what is left of New Orleans tells us so. While it undoubtedly is mostly black people who were looting in New Orleans, they were not doing so because black people are inherently more prone to lawlessness (though an argument could certainly be made that people in general from the corrupt 'sin city' that was New Orleans, may be so inclined). However one cannot discount that likelihood that the sense of entitlement, reliance on the government, and the hair trigger to blame any slight on racism, which have all been virtually breed into blacks in America over the last generation, have all contributed mightily to the toxic witch's brew of the anarchy we have seen in New Orleans.

And yet is any of this mentioned in the mainstream news media? Barely a whisper. Instead we get the absurdity of black 'leaders' making baseless and ridiculous charges that racism played a role in the supposedly slow relief efforts to save the black people who apparently bear no responsibly for not heeding the warnings to leave town. Not only are these statements aired, they are almost universally provided a platform with no accompanying repudiation or even a remote sense of balance, which I believe, once again, is further evidence of the 'soft bigotry of low expectations.' After all, we can't be seen as criticizing or correcting black 'leaders,' because someone might think that is racist! While this injustice may be motivated as much by gutlessness as by unconscious racism, the result is still virtually the same.

There is very little unconscious however in the blatant racism that has been on display by numerous prominent black people. Rapper Kanye West (who was recently described on the cover of Time magazine as "Hip-hop's class act" and the "smartest man in pop music") went WAY off script and rambled endlessly about the invented role of racism in the relief efforts while taking part in NBC's telethon for the victims (a venue which for many reasons makes his statements exponentially worse), finally finishing things off with, 'George Bush doesn't care about Black people.' West's statements were made just hours after video cameras caught he President consoling two black women with hugs and kisses, one of whom later told CNN 'in his eyes could see it was coming from his heart.' While West's outrageous and absurd statement was edited from NBC's west coast feed and rebroadcast, the silence from black leaders in repudiating such outrageousness has been deafening. Meanwhile an LA Times columnist came to the ludicrous conclusion that NBC should not have edited anything because West comment would have been cheered more than other line in the show by blacks in New Orleans.

In some ways the comments of Jessie Jackson were even dumber. He expressed the silly and racist concern that the President has supposedly not named blacks to top positions in the federal response to a disaster that disproportionately impacts blacks saying, 'How can blacks be locked out of the leadership, and trapped in the suffering' It is that lack of sensitivity and compassion that represents a kind of incompetence.? Let me get this straight Jessie, a shortage of blacks heading relief efforts equals a lack of sensitivity and compassion?? How about making such a charge lacking any semblance of intelligence or integrity, Jessie? Does anyone seriously think those in trouble give a rat's ass the color of the skin of the person giving the orders to save them? It is difficult to conceive of anything more racist than the concept that black people can only be properly rescued by other blacks. Of course it should also be mentioned that U.S. Army Lt. Gen Russell Honore, who is the head of the military task force overseeing operations in the three states, happens to be black, as is the mayor of New Orleans, who seemingly believes that he and his city bears no responsibility for anything that went wrong and has apparently believes the federal government has an exclusive copyright on passing out bottled water.

The bottom line on race in this tragedy is this'race has had nothing to do with anything. Despite the charges of the congressional black caucus, a group with so little credibility they recently invited O.J. Simpson to play in their golf tournament, there is absolutely zero evidence that anything would have been handled differently had those in trouble been white or any other color. Of course, it should not be a surprise when black people automatically presume that any suffering they experience must be do to the color of their skin, after all, the professional race mongers have been teaching them to perceive any slight through the prism of race for almost two generations now.

In fact, a strong argument can be made that this entitlement/aggrievement mindset actually laid the groundwork for the paralyzation of the populace of New Orleans. What the hell ever happened to personal responsibility and ingenuity? It seems that the socialistic/welfare mentality had also completely sapped the survival instincts from many of those who found themselves in a living hell, but with little thought of how to persevere without a government handout. While the situations are hardly perfectly analogous, it is still instructive to compare the response of those from the dog-eat-dog, survival of fittest city of New York after 9/11 with what we have seen, or not seen, in New Orleans. Did any of the NYPD quit or commit suicide? Was there any significant looting? Did anyone stand around and wait for the federal government to save, feed, or help them leave the city? Certainly the stark differences could not be totally coincidental and it should be noted that there are plenty of black people in New York.

Unfortunately the pictures of black people looting and appearing to be helplessly sitting paralyzed reduced to pleading for a government handout has undoubtedly reinforced every negative stereotype of black people that some of those with racist tendencies still have. I am also sure that the understandable insecurity that blacks have in how they are often perceived by some has contributed to the overly sensitive response from some of them on the role of race in this catastrophe. The sad reality is that millions of blacks honestly believe or have been allowed to conclude (with almost no evidence) that racism really was why so many blacks were trapped in New Orleans. Meanwhile, millions of whites undoubtedly see all of this as a further indication that many blacks are incapable of taking care of themselves (with almost no evidence) and are literally helpless without the government's aid.

While race should not matter in any of this, economic class often does, and this truth has certainly added fuel to the race fire. The reality of life is that money equals options and if you have money you were far more likely to be able to get out of town before or after the disaster. Many people, including the liberals in the news media, have misperceived this as a race issue or as an example of injustice. The reality is that this is simply life and life, as we all should know by now, was never intended to be fair. I actually got an e-mail from a black person who was enraged that 'white' visitors to the Ritz Carlton (it may have actually been a Hyatt) were bused out of New Orleans under armed guard days after the hurricane hit, while blacks on the streets were left behind. It apparently never even occurred to this listener that had a black person been staying at the Ritz they would have been treated exactly the same way and that the Ritz would not have done anything (nor should they have been obligated to) for a white person who was out on the street. While race and class are still unfortunately related in this country, they are not even close to be synonymous. Ironically, tens of millions of dollars were instantly donated by 'upper class' whites to help their fellow Americans in need, Americans who just happened to be mostly black. My guess is that the vast majority did so without even a thought of race.

Of course much of what is motivating the discord and rancor that we are witnessing so soon into this disaster is motivated by pure partisan politics. It is amazing how all of the usual suspects on the left (and to a lesser extent on the right) have seen the reality of this tragedy almost exclusively through the prism of their own self interest and what it is that they wanted to believe in the first place. The liberals all seem convinced that racism, the war in Iraq, global warming, and George Bush himself are all to blame for everything went wrong (with no evidence), while a growing chorus of conservatives are willing to finger corrupt/incompetent local officials, the welfare state, and the news media as a major culprits.

Fox News Channel is accurately calling this story 'America's Challenge,' and in many ways we are, has been the American tradition, rising to the occasion. However, in many other aspects we seem to be failing this test as our 'leaders' eat each other alive in pursuit of their own self interest. As we approach the 4th anniversary of 9/11, which was a different type of challenge that, at least at first, we as a nation proudly rose to, it may be worth while to ponder whether by doing nothing against our homeland since that fateful day, if Al Qaeda has actually witnessed far more destruction to our former greatness as a united nation than they ever could have wrought on their own. Sadly, it seems that their ultimate goal of the demise of the United States is being accomplished at a startling rate with them seemingly doing little more than sitting back and watching, probably while laughing at us, as we simply self destruct.

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