Dear Aunt Sophie,
I’m a senator from Louisiana, and I’ve been asked to write you on behalf of my good friends, the governor and the mayor of New Orleans, because they’re much too busy to write letters. I’m busy, too, but I’ll always do a favor for a friend. After all, this is Louisiana.
We’re afraid we’re going to come in for some criticism with this hurricane business and we want to be sure everybody knows it wasn’t our fault.
People might think we could have done something to prevent all this, but believe me, we couldn’t have, and we’re damned if we’re going to take the rap for Bush’s screw-up. I’m so mad at him I could punch him. In fact, if I see him I might just do that, so they better keep us apart.
Surely people must realize there was absolutely nothing we could have done. We hold the reins of power in Louisiana, but we don’t control the weather. Bush, on the other hand, should have called out the National Guard. He should have had troops massed on our border ready to roll as soon as they named that storm. But did he? Of course not! He sends our boys to Iraq! Before a hurricane! It’s disgraceful to send soldiers into harm’s way in another country when you can put them in harm’s way right here at home.
My good friend the mayor is sure this whole disaster happened because nobody could care less about black people. Now I’ve never thought a lot about black people, and I don’t know who cares for them and who doesn’t, but he’s probably right. Blacks should have had good jobs so they could afford to get out of town along with the whites. But they couldn’t. Whose fault was that? Isn’t it up to the president to make sure people have good jobs?
And where were the helicopters? I mean before the storm came, when they could have done some good. If Bush really cared about black people, he would have ordered those big black helicopters into Gentilly in July instead of waiting until people were drowning and had to be taken out by boat.
And don’t you try to tell me we could have done anything differently, either. This is the way things have always been done around here. Maybe it’s different where you come from, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t just as good.
If you try to tell me this mess isn’t Bush’s fault I’ll punch you, too.
It sure was neighborly of you to take time out of your busy schedule to compose a letter for your friends. I guess the governor and the mayor were also too busy to read their own disaster plans.
If His Honor had ever opened his, he’d have been aware that his city actually possessed a couple hundred of these conveyances that we, up North, call school buses. That’s because they’re usually used to take kids to school, but there’s no reason they can’t be used in a pinch to evacuate poor people from a city.
And if Her Majesty had ever taken the time to read hers, she might have known that if she wanted the National Guard sent into her jurisdiction, she’d have to ask the president for it.
But let’s not spend our time engaging in worthless recriminations. Clearly it’s Bush’s fault that the mayor and the governor can’t read; that the hurricane’s path was only predicted three days before it swamped the Big Easy in a way no one in the city’s entire history had ever imagined; that al-Qaeda wasn’t considerate enough to wait to declare war on the U.S. until after the storm, so that Louisiana National Guard strength could have been at 100 percent strength; and let’s not forget that it’s Bush’s fault the NOPD was too busy -- what, looting? -- to keep order.
The president is also clearly responsible for the fact that most of those hardest hit in this city -- where 78 percent of the population is black -- are the descendants of the very same black slaves he undoubtedly brought here in the first place. And while we’re at it, let’s not forget Krakatoa, Pompeii, the extinction of the dinosaurs, and another destructive Flood. When you think about it, that’s quite a lot for one man to have accomplished in less than two terms. If only he’d signed the Kyoto agreement.
The fault, dear Slugger, is not in your president, but in yourselves. Next Election Day don’t let your constituents tell you otherwise.
Good luck and God bless.
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