I am stunned by an interview I conducted with New Orleans Detective Lawrence Dupree. He told me they were trying to rescue people with a helicopter and the people were so poor they were afraid it would cost too much to get a ride and they had no money for a "ticket." Dupree was shaken telling us the story. He just couldn't believe these people were afraid they'd be charged for a rescue.This is what Republican rule gets you. People who need help don't expect the government to help them. That's what Bush means when he talks about the Ownership Society.
Conservatives will read that and think "Good." Grover Norquist will say that this attitude is a victory for his strategy.
As a liberal, I think that's horrible. It's a failure of government on a colossal level not only that people were stranded without resources for so long, but that, when help arrived, people thought they would have to pay to be saved. That's a failure. That's wrong.
The Ayn Randian anarcho-capitalism of the modern Republican party is exposed in its heartless glory by the events of the last week.
The other thing revealed is that the leaders of the "pro-life" movement are not so concerned about lost lives. The New Orleans convention center is a morgue and there are refrigerated trailers standing by to contain the dead. A lack of planning and a lack of concern for the lives of people in New Orleans lead to incompetent planning and a failure to execute plans that existed.
The left has taken measures to provide support and comfort to people who need aid and support. We've stepped in and implemented our philosophy, a pro-life, helpful philosophy of bringing people together to solve our common problems.
I'm disgusted by the people who claim to be pro-life – I'm looking at you, Senator Brownback and friends, and you, Columbia Christians for Life – gloating over the deaths in New Orleans as divine retributions for gay people or abortion or whatever the hell is more important to them than life itself.
I'm pro-life. I want antibiotics, food, helicopters and an effective government safety net to save lives. I don't want to hear anything more about the pro-life until Operation Rescue gets their shit together and starts rescuing living people from the goddamn flood. But on August 31, all they were talking about is a woman who was mentally anguished because she thought she had an abortion but didn't actually.
Words, even buzzwords, mean things. "Pro-life" means supporting life. "Family values" means valuing families. "Ownership society" means giving people a sense of ownership. The people who've spent the most time talking about those things are the ones who failed most dramatically to put those words into action.