We Conservababes have been appalled by the fervent blame game that immediately sprang up after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. A great deal of the blame was placed, as usual, on President Bush. He was slow to respond, he appointed an incompetent cronie to head FEMA, which was late getting relief to New Orleans because no one cared about the poor people there. It naturally did not take long for the race card to be played --from President Bush "doesn't care about black people" to outrageous conspiracy theories about a bomb blowing up the levee to wipe out the poor, African American areas of New Orleans, while the "white" areas (you know, the ones above sea level) remained dry. (Don't you just want to punch him?)
For weeks the president's supporters had to endure liberals gleefully heaping the blame on Dubya. And we asked, as we have so often in the past --WHY doesn't he stand up for himself? Why doesn't he fight back, explain how ludicrous these accusations are? He could have easily pointed out how very much the local officials were to blame. But instead of defending himself, Dubya comes out and says that he takes responsibility for the poor federal response to this tragedy. And we Conservababes think --WHAT? He's going along with all of this, too? He's fanning the flames of blame?
But then we noticed the mayor and governor making similar statements, accepting their share of the blame, and we had our first hint that Bush was planning something...
President Bush delivered with his speech last night. He took all of the criticisms flung his way and shoved them back down the throats of his attackers. Did he do this with insults and harsh, polarizing rhetoric --a la Democrats towards him of late? (Well, not "of late" --since about 2000, if memory serves.) No. He will never sink to their level. Instead he did it by simply reiterating his views --our views, of all the people who voted for him and believe in compassionate conservatism. And then (remember, Republicans like action, as opposed to criticizing current methods while offering no plan of their own to fix the problems) he came up with a comprehensive plan --not just to rebuild, but to rebuild American style --by making the area stronger and better than it was before.
They said the federal government was slow to respond; he asked for a full investigation. Not, as Democrats hoped, to point fingers and blame, but to learn from our mistakes to develop better emergency response systems in New Orleans and in every major American city. We can all learn from what happened there.
They said that President Bush "didn't care about black people." He responded by acknowledging a truth we'd often like to forget --that the conditions of poverty many African Americans were living in in New Orleans and elsewhere stems from slavery and the racism and oppression that continued in the south for the next hundred years.
They said he did not care about the poor. He responded by asking Congress to pass his suggested initiatives --they are not handouts, as Democrats are fond of-- they are initiatives not to maintain impoverished survival, but to rise above poverty: $5,000 a person for education, job training, and child care; a lottery to give people property on government land, then loans for mortgages or help from charities like Habitat for Humanity to build houses on that land. Under President Bush, all Americans --including African Americans-- enjoy the highest rate of home ownership in at least the last 100 years. He plans to continue that trend because he knows that nothing creates pride, self-worth and a desire to lead a good, successful life than owning your own home. Tax break initiatives were also proposed, reminding us of our core conservative belief --that entrepreneurs, average Americans who own small businesses --in other words, the American people themselves-- are what keeps the economy rolling. (Not the government, though it can help in times of trial.)
And the president reminded us of the pride and obligations we have as Americans. We, the working people of this country, have donated hundreds of millions of dollars to charities and relief organizations. Doctors, nurses, bus drivers, policemen and firemen from all over the country have voluntarily ventured to New Orleans and other devastated regions on the Gulf to help their fellow Americans. People have opened their homes to victims of the storm. And the president asked us to do more. He reminded us that there are so many little things we can do to make a difference --schools adopting and helping other schools, scout troops, unions, churches --any organization with a counterpart in the Gulf region can help in some small way that will make a big difference to those who need their help.
And he reminded us of the faith that so many Americans share. The hurricane victims interviewed on the news had one thing in common. Nearly all of them, at some point in their accounts of the devastation around them, thanked God --for their survival and safety and for the people who have so graciously helped them thus far. Whatever you decided to call Him or however you worship, we are one nation under God. One nation of people who are there for each other in times of crisis, who have each other's back. The worst of times brings out the best in Americans. We will learn from this; we will rise up stronger than we were before. As President Bush says --may God continue to bless America.