Friday, September 23, 2005
Dear Dems, Demagogue Disasters
While the rest of the state was diligently preparing for Hurricane Rita, Democrats in Austin were busy learning how to exploit such disasters for political gain. Rev. Jim Wallis, author of "God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It", expanded on the fashionable meme of politicizing the tragedy in New Orleans to score political points and harm President Bush.
According to the Statesman story on the event, Rev. Wallis claimed "The waves of Katrina washed away cities and people, but they may also wash away our public denial of how many people in the country are poor."
Oh really? Had the Statesman bothered to cover a speech by civil rights activist Starr Parker a few weeks ago, they would have learned that the true revelation of Katrina is not that lots of poor people exist, but the reason they are still poor after all these years of "The Great Society". Says Ms. Parker, an African American woman and former welfare mom,
"To the extent that issues of race and poverty are discussed at this time, the relevant question to ask is, 'Why, after these many years, does our African American population remain disproportionately poor?' Those who assert that rescue efforts were impeded because of racism also assert that black poverty persists because of racism. It is this attitude, the welfare state mentality, that has contributed in no small part to the tragedy we have witnessed."In other words, the soul-destroying idea that poor minorities need rich, well-educated elites to take care of them is the bigger cause of the post-Katrina horrors.
It is also remarkable that the Statesman now seems surprisingly blase about mixing politics and religion. In the past, the Statesman has hosted incendiary diatribes against the religious right for supposedly conflating Christian doctrine and conservative politics. Said Rev. Wallis, "We are preaching, training and organizing. We are linking people together and building a network that impacts politics and the culture." However, the story by Emma Graves Fitzsimmons lets this statement pass with nary a mention of "separation of church and state". It seems the Statesman has issued a new dispensation; they will countenance religion in politics if its a religion they like.
Yet, this "religion" is the same old liberal themes dressed up in righteous language. Says Rev. Wallis,
"Some Democrats have said to me since Katrina, 'We may finally get our voice back,' and I hope they do. They have an opportunity to provide leadership. If the Democrats don't start talking about poverty now, the party will die, and it will deserve to. This is a moment of transformation.""Get our voice back"? All Democrats have talked about for the last 40 years is "helping" the poor with failed, big government solutions. Rev. Wallace only recommends putting old statist wine in new Katrina wineskins.
In one way, I hope the Democrats do not heed Rev. Wallis' advice, but in another way I do.
It is disconcerting to see near-immediate politicizing of a disaster. In this environment, the local, state, and federal officials charged with response would be tempted to spend more time spin doctoring instead of rescuing victims, keeping the peace, aiding the injured and helping evacuees.
On the other hand, this mindset further reveals the Democrats' dearth of ideas, crass opportunism, and inability to face a tough job. They've been beaten in two straight national election cycles and are a non-factor statewide in Texas because they are seen as spineless, simpering sissy boys. Continued whining would lead to prolonged wandering in the electoral wilderness, not the marching into a land of political milk and honey.
Yesterday my mother emphatically stated that America needed to double corporate taxes, if we wished to double corporate revenues (life-long Democrat, that she is) When I tried to convince her that it might be more successful to double the revenues by halving the taxes, she flipped out. Often, I think there is a huge problem with people who have social goals, but no economic empiricism in their background, such as most religious leaders.They just know they don't want poor people..No loving person does. To arrive at a solution, when will we ever learn to examine what works versus what fails, and emulate the successes.....That's my idea of sanity, as well as compassion. I don't think that a continuing spiral of failing programs is 'spiritual' because I can pat myself on the back that I upped other people's taxes....And, I don't get to pat myself on the back for instituting programs that fail and hurt people...no matter how self-satisfied I feel...Star Parker has it dead on.
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