Thursday, September 08, 2005

Moveon Petition: Letter to Our Fearsome Leader

Mikaela says:
I don't put much stock in these internet petitions, but I do enjoy the opportunity to craft a little memo from me to the big boys and get it airlifted via someone else's efforts to the right mailboxes.

So here's what I amended to the Moveon petition (theirs is italics):
TO: President Bush
FROM: Mikaela
SUBJECT: Stop Blaming the Victims, Help Them

Dear President Bush,

I understand that your sheltered upbringing surrounded by wealth and power has limited your understanding of how poverty or living a hand-to-mouth existence takes away options that other Americans enjoy thoughtlessly, such as car ownership and emergency savings.

I understand why it would be inconceivable to you that people in New Orleans did not evacuate when they had the "option" to do so.

Education is a good thing, as you must agree. Now is the time to educate yourself about how the "option" of evacuation was never on the table for the poorest families in the Mississippi Delta. Their tables are empty most of the time, as you will begin to learn.

Blaming them for their poverty is pouring salt in the wounds. Racism and structural injustice together play the largest role in the grinding poverty that has left so many stranded in rising, toxic waters. It's left them homeless now. Don't continue to abandon these Americans who need our help the most.

You claimed to be a compassionate conservative. I'd like to call in your campaign promise and ask you to help in the ways you can. Please start by accepting responsibility for sluggishness and lack of planning at the federal level. Leadership must come from the federal level to iron out how resources will be passed to the state and local levels. You cannot blame them when the responsibility was yours.

In the immediate days after Katrina, we saw the best of America as millions of people stepped forward to offer help. Meanwhile, your administration failed at its most important job: keeping America safe. The federal effort was too little, too late and the fact that you would blame state and local officials after they had begged for help is appalling.

You must stop blaming the victims and get to work helping them.