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Monday, September 3, 2007

6. Between Reptile and Repugnant

The diplomatic and thoughtful Julia Roberts once said, “Republican comes in the dictionary just after reptile and just above repugnant.” Her implications are clear – Democrats are caring, loving, honest, fair and wonderful people while Republicans are greedy, hateful, deceitful and evil. So Julia, does that pretty much sum it up? If America was run exclusively by Democrats then all social ills would be cured – am I right Julia?

August 29, 2007 marked the two year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. On news shows, talk radio and Oprah the subject was New Orleans and the problems that city still faces after the devastation of Katrina. Guests on Oprah displayed grief and sadness at the suffering that still exists. Said one guest, “The people of New Orleans have been forgotten.” The fault, of course, lies squarely on the shoulders of George W. Bush and the racist, evil, uncaring and repugnant Republican Party. To quote John Edwards, “If George Bush’s government were as good and decent and focused as the people of New Orleans, whole parts of the city would not still look like the storm just hit.”

The facts are that New Orleans was in trouble long before Katrina. From the 2000 Census, New Orleans had a poverty rate of 28% compared to an overall 12% rate of the US. New Orleans isn’t some small, hidden town in the Appalachian Mountains; it is one of the largest and most important port cities in the United States. Not only is it a sea port but it is also the terminus of the Mississippi River. In addition, New Orleans is a major tourist attraction with Mardi Gras and a host of other festivals and conventions bringing people in from all over the world. In spite of its location and industrial advantages, New Orleans pre-Katrina ranked first in percentage of population living in poverty areas, third in lowest median household income and third in portion of workforce that is unemployed. In 2003, before Katrina, the murder rate in New Orleans was nearly eight times the national average and since Katrina the rate has increased to almost 10 times the average.

So who is running the show in New Orleans and Louisiana ? Since 1936 the mayors of New Orleans have been exclusively Democrats. Since 1877, Democrats have been governor of Louisiana for 118 of the 130 years. How can so much poverty, crime and grief exist in a city and state firmly controlled by Democrats?

The first reason seems to be government corruption. Before Katrina, New Orleans ranked second in the nation for the number of public corruption convictions and indictments. In a 2005 Louisiana State University poll of 419 business executives, corruption in New Orleans was ranked as among the worst aspects of doing business in that city. Investors and managers are reluctant to come “because they don’t want to pay the corruption tax,” said Rafael C. Goyeneche, president of the Metropolitan Crime Commission. New Orleans public schools are also some of the worst performing in the country. Long before Katrina the school system was riddled with corruption, mismanagement and poor bookkeeping. Who suffers at the hands of these caring, non-repugnant Democrats? It is the poor, black children who, with no education, will have no hope for a bright future.

In the days leading up to Katrina coming ashore, it was clear this hurricane could potentially destroy New Orleans. On August 28, Mayor Ray Nagin released a strong warning to his constituents regarding the potential devastation the city faced and ordered them to leave the city. As cars streamed away from New Orleans several reporters remained and interviewed residents. Many discounted the possible effects of Katrina and refused to leave. None I saw interviewed complained of the lack of transportation. But, even if they did, where was Ray Nagin? Where was Governor Kathleen Blanco? What were they doing to ensure the safety of their people? Weeks after the storm, Governor Blanco even admitted that President Bush called offering federal assistance and she refused. Yet the aftermath left Nagin and Blanco blaming only George W. Bush and the Republicans in Congress.

New Orleans is obviously not the only city in the US controlled by Democrats that seems to be unable to deal with their social and fiscal problems. For those who claim to have the answers for this country they seem incapable of solving the problems within their own cities. In the 1980s, both New York City and State were controlled by Democrats. In spite of New York City having an economy larger than most countries, they continued to blame Ronald Reagan, looking to him to solve their problems with homelessness. What were Mayor Koch and Governor Cuomo doing on their own to solve this problem, I mean, besides blaming Reagan and all of the other greedy and hateful Republicans? I don’t know. What I do know is that this problem had a rather simple first-step solution. The city and state governments could have raised taxes on income, property and sales and used the revenue to build shelters to care for its cities homeless. Couldn’t either of these thoughtful, caring and intelligent Democrats think of that? Or, like Julia Roberts, was it just a lot easier to call Republicans names?

Detroit, St. Louis, Cleveland and Newark all have been primarily controlled by Democrats for the last fifty years. Yet all rank at or near the top of lists of cities with the highest crime and poverty rates. As I scanned biographies of the past mayors of these cities the one world that appeared over and over again was “corruption.”

If New Orleans, St. Louis, Cleveland, Detroit and Newark are prime examples of cities historically controlled by Democrats, I fear how much “better” life could be throughout the US if all decisions were turned over to that compassionate party. The Bush administration reported that over $96 billion in aid and reconstruction has already been spent in the gulf region. Two years and $96 billion later and New Orleans still appears as if “the storm has just hit.” The report also states that over $1 billion has been wasted in fraud and abuse. Who is at fault Julia? Who cares and does not care about the people of New Orleans? Implying sanctity on the Left and evil on the Right doesn’t really add up, does it? So Julia, if Republicans are repugnant and reptilian what adjectives should we use to describe Democrats?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ConservativeTM - I enjoyed the article and so tired of Republican be "BASHED"-Thanks for standing up and telling the facts - Keep up the good work - Honey Lover