All government levels equally responsible

There have been a lot of arguments going back and forth in the Northern Star about who actually is responsible for the disaster in New Orleans. Those who blindly support the president through all his blunders can only simply say, when confronted with the truth, that the Star is liberal and the president’s detractors are simply “Bush bashing.” I try not to get drawn into these petty arguments simply because I am aware of the fact that the average man cannot comprehend the scope of responsibilities or the burden that our elected officials have to deal with. In many respects I admire and respect any man elected to the presidency because they have chosen to take on an insane amount of burdens. However, I feel it is necessary to add some sort of sanity to these arguments. I am sure that when I talk about the truth, those who disagree with me will paint me as being a ‘Bush Basher’ or a ‘Conservative in Liberal Clothing,’ but such criticism would only be a testament to their own ignorance.

First, I do not believe anyone is solely responsible for the disaster in New Orleans, but in regards to the mismanagement of the situation the blame lays equally on the shoulders of those elected to the municipal, state and federal levels of government.

Why? First, one would expect the mayor and governor to be more aware of any potential problems regarding their city and state. I am sure they have a flood plain map like every other government, which shows what sections of the city would be underwater if the waters rose, yet, nothing was done. Secondly, when impending disasters have threatened to destroy towns along Mississippi and Florida, previous presidents have had no problem federalizing the respective National Guard units to aid in evacuation efforts, sandbagging and preparing the areas for the disaster.

But I guess as long as he keeps landing Phantoms on aircraft carrier decks, attends NASCAR races, pretends to be a Texas cowboy (which he isn’t, the Bush family is in fact a New England elitist Family), and aspires for the lowest common denominator (he actually is insulting Americans by acting this way and then saying he’s one of us), then he’ll keep getting the votes.

Finally, there is the issue of looters. Many argue that we shouldn’t help these people who are shooting at helicopters and attacking rescue workers. I have a couple of problems with that. The first being that many of these people are firing guns to attract the attention of helicopters, fearing they will be passed by and left. Second, 60 percent of the homeless in New Orleans suffer from many psychological disorders like multiple personality disorders.

New Orleans is the poorest state in the union and its tax revenue can’t fund mental institutions. These people need help, not violence. Finally, there is the issue of the racism related to looting. In a recent newspaper there were two pictures: one of a black person wading through water with groceries. The newspaper captioned him as a looter. The second picture was of a white couple wading through water with bottled water and sliced bread, and the caption read “victims of Hurricane Katrina find food and water in a local grocery store.” I’m pretty sure they looted it, too, but I guess since they are white, we must have sympathy for them.

Constantine Argiris

Senior, political science