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The Tentacle


May 28, 2010

Obama Canít Win

Roy Meachum

On the issue of the Gulf spill, my right-wing friends appear, at least, capable of hypocrisy. And yesterday’s demonstration of how to cap a runaway oil well makes little difference.

 

While preaching and propounding the Jeffersonian principle – the best government governs least – they are in a large swivet over Barack Obama’s failure to intervene in the broken pump that polluted much of the Gulf of Mexico area. Apparently they want a bankrupt government to find billions to solve the problem and billions more to finance its fixing. Now!

 

They confuse the White House’s role in Hurricane Katrina. They are mixing oranges and apples because it suits their overall condemnation of the nation’s first African American president. (And color of his skin is a factor.)

 

The 2003 hurricane that wrecked my hometown was chiefly a responsibility of the federal Corps of Engineers. As it developed, the Army – under pressure from political powers – licensed flood walls that were by any measure criminally shallow. If you wonder about the adverb, you obviously have not seen the acres of ruined and deserted houses in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth ward; I have. The lack of protection along the Industrial Canal gutted my boarding school and forced it to move inland.

 

By the way, no levee allowed water to creep by; they stood firm. The break came from latter-day walls.

 

Of long-lasting impact, as observed in Tuesday’s TheTentacle.com column (“My Poor Louisiana”), the Corps of Engineers – under great political pressure – created the hurricane alley, intended to allow all big ships to reach New Orleans docks. There was double federal liability forcing Washington to bear sole blame for Katrina.

 

The disaster was further compounded by the lack and delay of such organizations as the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Taxpayers forked over for thousands of vehicles and trailers meant to house the refugees; many of them asbestos contaminated. The handling of the situation from Washington could make an excellent guideline for what not to do.

 

Ask the citizens of Louisiana and Mississippi, the government’s handling of Katrina was slip shod, at best.

 

From reports conducted during the last Bush years, Minerals Management Service middle-range and upper range employees are revealed as sleazy, corrupt and overly indulgent of the oil industry that they were supposed to regulate and oversee. Before the Obama White House years, civil servants winked both eyes at illegal practices that, if enacted, could have prevented the present mess. They must be held accountable – at least morally – for the large loss of aquatic animal and fauna life. Environmentally, they should be strung up. Instead they were handed wholesale reshuffling and lay-offs.

 

I am guilty of no double standard.

 

George W. Bush and Richard Cheney came under attack in this space but only after they had the free ride accorded every election official, at the beginning of his term. Today’s right-wing climate would have us believe Barack Obama arrived on the Washington scene prepared to wreak havoc on our national system. He was judged guilty weeks before resting his hand on the Bible that made him chief executive.

 

In looking out for the Constitution, as many claim, they could do damage to this nation and all its institutions, including the democracy. They are undermining traditions of fair play that makes the system work. For petty partisan reasons, they destroy our present president and twist his name into something that bears little resemblance to the human being, Barack Obama.

 

I weep.

 



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