George Bush doesn’t care about people in general

The president strummed a guitar and ate cake while my city drowned.

This is in response to an editorial cartoon published in the Jan. 27 Daily. The cartoonist lists four people Adam Elrashidi finds annoying. His opinions are beneath consideration, but I felt compelled to write this in response to his choices of Kanye West.

I presume that the cause of the cartoonist’s irritation is West’s remark that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” I am not a fan of this rapper or of rap music in general, and I agree that the part where West says “about black people” is incorrect. However, the first part of the statement is absolutely correct. President Bush doesn’t care.

I was born and raised in southern Louisiana, right outside the New Orleans metro area. I went to college in the Big Easy. Last year was not a joyous time for me. I watched as my home city was destroyed, as its residents, including close friends and closer family, were sent into exile. The initial shock of the levee breaking as the great flood quickly gave way to horror beyond description. For one terrible week, I could not contact my mother. I had no idea where she was or if she was even still alive.

Finally, four days after Katrina made landfall, my mother was able to call to tell me she was safe at home. My grief and pain turned to anger. I was mad as hell at local officials who did not do enough and screwed up royally and at sanctimonious, self-righteous blowhards and short-sighted idiots who blamed us for living there, who believed that we brought this upon ourselves and deserved to die for being “foolish” enough to “live in a bowl”. This as if living in one of this country’s greatest cities amounted to a death wish, or that an indispensable port should not have been built in the most convenient and logical spot. Rebuilding New Orleans is worth it. And finally, I was mad at the federal government for not giving a damn .

My blood boiled when I saw the pictures of the president strumming a guitar at a photo op and eating birthday cake as my city drowned. I raged as news reports came out that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had been turned into nothing more than a patronage farm, where buffoons like Michael “heck of a job Brownie” Brown leeched off federal dollars and could do and did nothing. How it is that government aid got to the Southern Asia tsunami victims within two days but it took four days for helicopters to airlift dehydrated, starving and dying people off their roofs in New Orleans?

It only got worse. Large numbers of prominent people treated us as an odious burden, not worthy of their resources and concerns. Vice President Dick Cheney was fishing in Wyoming and closing a mansion deal in Martha’s Vineyard during that terrible week. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was buying $1000 shoes on Fifth Avenue. They didn’t even pretend to care. The Krewe of Negligence that makes up Bush’s senior cabinet could not even be bothered to fake it. An associate of mine once said that he was impressed by the amount of empathy Bush displayed. People who are empathetic do not play guitar as one of the cities under their care dies. As much as Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco and Mayor Ray “Chocolate City” Nagin messed up big time, I get the sense that they did all they thought they could do and were completely overwhelmed. They at least pretended to care about their dying people. Bush does not care. Blanco and Nagin’s careers (and in Nagin’s case, his sanity) are dead. They are mostly irrelevant. Bush’s career is not. I’d like to say to Bush: Leave my government. You’ve done enough damage.

Brandon Chabaud is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]