The Politics Of A Hurricane
What’s wrong with the media? Too often they play right into right-wing myths about government programs designed to help people in need.
Before I begin today, I wanted to give a shout out to my new friends over at Mudflats that gave me a view yesterday after being sent my way by another new friend at Willpen’s World. Mudflats represents a group of Alaskans who are not in the tank for Sarah Palin, and I suggest to my readers that they would be a great source for up-close information on the Lady who would be Queen. As for Willpen, thanks a lot for directing a new group to my site and your previous comments and encouragement. I would also refer my readers there for more common-sense discussion contrary to what is often heard on TV, especially FOX NOISE Channel.
Over two weeks ago, Hurricane Ike barreled into the Galveston/Houston area causing a mighty mess. Finally, our part of the Gulf of Mexico got the storm that we had been worried about for many lucky years. Unlike the malaise that gripped the Federal Government in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Republicans who run both the Administration in Washington and the State House in Austin as well as County Courthouses in Southeast Texas had learned their lessons well. Republican politicians flooded the airwaves with speeches about all they were doing to help the unfortunate victims of the hurricane. Governor Rick “Pretty Hair” Perry called out the National Guard, and President George W. Bush flew to Texas – a very big state – to be near. Actually he was only within 200 miles of the carnage, a distance that would be out-of-state most places. At least he stayed away from wistful looks out airplane windows on the way.
You may wonder how I know any of this since I was without power for several days after the storm. Mrs. Jack is the only reason you hear from me. She is the technical wizard of our house and operation. Some years ago, in spite of my razzing, she purchased a battery-powered TV. So thanks to her foresight standing up to my Ludite ways, we were able to get the local channels through the storm and aftermath. Some of my neighbors out here in the country also got news because they own generators, which gave them access to DirecTV.
I walked down the road to visit a couple in my neighborhood, a couple of Republicans, that is, who immediately started ranting and raving about all those black and Hispanic people down in Houston lining up to get ice and water. They wanted to know where their ice and water were. Well, I just happened to be ready for this typical right-wing attack. I explained to them that I had just returned from the County Commissioner’s Barn, where I was given ice and water, and was just on the way down to tell them that it was available if they would drive up there and get it. I also let them know that I, too, had been watching the TV coverage out of Houston and that the thrust of the report they were watching was the fact that all those black and Hispanic people were waiting in lines where there was no ice, no water, no nothing. It hadn’t arrived. Of course, being good Republicans, they quickly dismissed my comments and began talking about their self-sufficiency with their generator and how they plugged in their refrigerator and had ice. In our area we already had water.
After power and phone service was restored, I talked to my Republican brother who lives in Katy, Texas, an area that was spared much of the wrath of Ike, and he, also, launched into a rant about how all those blacks and Hispanics in Houston seem to think they deserve something and always have their hands out. I told him about how here in East Montgomery County all us white people were being treated most generously by the “system” he was railing against. In fact, every day until our power was restored, people in our heavily “white” area were lining up and quickly receiving ice, water and ready-to-eat meals. We were well cared for.
Now, I’m sure that the Republicans who run my county, the reddest county in Texas, would like to point out that this was because of their superior organizational ability. I am thankful for the assistance we got, but I’m a lot more politically savvy than that. Here are the facts about who got help and who didn’t get help and my opinion as to why that was.
People in the know have been talking here in Montgomery County about how the Republicans are very, very nervous about the election this year. The reason? During the primaries this year 18 times more people voted in the Democratic Primary than in the past several election cycles. The Republicans, who have ruled the roost unopposed and unquestioned in our county, suddenly realized that there was some unrest out here.
Over here in the east end of the county, we live in the cheap seats, lots of mobile homes and no real commercial centers offering employment opportunities other than the Wal-Mart Distribution Center and the Wal-Mart store itself. Because of social issues – our end of the county also seems to almost have more churches than people – this area has voted Republican without question for years. But this year things were different. The poor people of East Montgomery County are beginning to resent being perpetually poor while the people over in Conroe, our county seat, and The Woodlands, one of Houston’s most exclusive suburbs, are living the highlife on our backs as taxpayers. These areas are over 20 miles away from us and don’t begin to understand our issues, nor do they care. Yet they, by weight of money and numbers, leave us out of any development deals.
Our unexpected turnout in the Democratic primary sent a chill through those in power. So they knew they couldn’t ignore our needs in the upcoming election. We were so-called Reagan Democrats that were slipping away due to their neglect. And what of our less fortunate brothers and sisters down in Houston? For all the talk about how far we have come in the civil rights movement, the city of Houston is still a city that is largely segregated. There are almost-all black areas, almost all-Hispanic areas and almost all-white areas. And these boundaries are not the exception; they are the norm. All those underserved minorities standing out in lines where the FEMA trucks came six to eight hours late or not at all were in solidly Democratic congressional districts. The Republicans who preside over the County Courthouse, the State House in Austin, and the White House in Washington knew they didn’t have a thing to lose by ignoring a group of people who wouldn’t vote for them anyway.
So, instead of being honest about the issue of race in politics and how it plays out, outlets like FOX NOISE Network and Talk Radio continue to serve up the same old right-wing myths that have kept the Republicans in power. Government only helps minorities, and is inherently against the needs of white people. The truth showed itself in Hurricane Ike. Unfortunately, no media outlets, local or national, were up here showing all the white people getting their water and ice without problem. Instead, they focused on what many in my neck of the woods call those “lazy” minority people who always have their hands out. It’s time for the truth to come out.