Chretien, Bush, Martin: A Trio Exposed by Katrina

There is a moment in the penultimate scene of Primary Colors when the Clintonesque Presidential candidate says that everyone who runs for office has to sling mud at their competition. The difference between him and his fellow muck-rakers though is that he has ideas for bettering his country that he will implement once in. The rest are in it just for the power. I think this is the problem Canadians and Americans have. We have had a series of leaders who are in it for the power.

Jean Chretien wanted to be Prime Minister period. Slaying the deficit, though a necessary fight, did not negate his dearth of ideas and vision for his country, and she started her downhill slide. Paul Martin wanted in because his Daddy didn't succeed. George Bush wanted in because his Daddy failed in Iraq. The problem is when crisis hits, all three are incompetent because the pursuit of power does not give you the innate knowledge of how to lead your people. Only true leaders on fire with a vision of their country have that.

I have never felt so sorry for Americans nor so angry at their President. Hurricane Katrina built up strength over days. News and weather services tracked her for days in newspapers, on radio, on TV. Even the most illiterate at some point had heard about her. Yet the way the President and the government he leads responded you'd think Katrina hit like a stealth bomber in the night.

In medieval times, leaders faced great personal danger. They even had food tasters to prevent being poisoned. Yet in battle, in times of crisis, they were out front. They knew they had to be visible to lead. They knew their visibility would encourage and strengthen their people. During 9/11 Bush disappeared into the wide blue yonder when his people needed comfort. After Katrina, he flew over, looking down from up high, visible to no-one but the photographer on the plane, and only 5 days later toured the devastation. But unlike King George and Queen Elizabeth who at a time of great personal danger toured the East End of London, he did not enter the places of the poorest and hardest hit. On TV, he sneered at Canadian offers of help, as if the mighty US needs help from mosquito Canada, while his people cried out.

The US is a superpower not only in might, but also in knowledge and innovation. There was no reason they could not have had a plan in place to prevent human catastrophe and to rescue the injured and dying after Katrina hit. But like in Iraq where they went in with no post-war plan in place, New Orleans is also suffering from a lack of planning. I found it strange watching the evacuation why there were no buses to evacuate the poor and sick who had no cars and no money to pay for transport. I found it odd that they would think somehow the poor would be safe in New Orleans, in the SuperDome, a structure as vulnerable to mighty winds as much as any other, while those with cars would not be. I found it appalling that there was no hospital ship, no relief supplies following Katrina up the Gulf so that they would be right there, ready to land and provide aid and security. They have the boats that can navigate land and waterways in devastated areas -- lots of ordinary Americans were able to boat in to rescue people within a day. I found it despicable that Bush because of his insane quest in Iraq had gutted the very services necessary to protect and help New Orleans after a category 4/5 hurricane, which they had been predicting for the last 4 years. And I found it shocking that there is so much rage and so many addled minds built up over centuries in that place that people took to shooting at the rescuers. It is an indictment of how the poor and African-Americans are treated, how criminals are bred, and how rampant drug abuse is, all of which led to complete insanity in this crisis. The Lord of the Flies became real. And where was Bush? If incompetence was a reason for impeachment and I was an American, I'd be calling for it right now.

Then there's our Prime Minister. With Martin now having his prize, he cannot do the simplest thing a leader does. Martin took 2 days to offer sympathy. I don't know about you, but it doesn't take me 2 days to respond to even the greatest tragedy friends and/or family have experienced. How could he not know Katrina was coming and have a statement ready to read out immediately? Why were aid plans not ready to be offered and implemented? Was it Hillier who took the initiative and went to the Prime Minister to say this is how the Armed Forces can help? What will happen to us if we suffer a catastrophe? Will we be left swinging in the wind like those poor folks in New Orleans? Torontonians are particularly vulnerable: we have an ineffective Mayor who threw vapidities at the erupting gunfire this summer, a lying Premier, and a dithering Prime Minister. Torontonians will be the idiots they call Americans if they re-elect a Liberal government.

In this leadership vacuum of North America, citizens are taking action. Katrina has exposed the naked truth of how the poor and African-Americans are treated in the South. The whole world knows this truth now through the televised images of distraught men, frightened women, dead bodies on the streets, and we are outraged. Americans are shamed and outraged. Bush cannot fly protected over this storm.

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Anonymous said…
I totally agree whole heartedly with this story. Presidents, Prime Ministers and any other political leader of any country has no idea how the majority of any country lives. We the people need to take our countries back from the "empty-headed leaders" that have no idea what to do in any type of crisis.
Anonymous said…
It seems quite easy for a resident of Canada who hates any form of government that he personally does not control, to point out how horrible everyone else does their elected job.
The point he makes about getting imediate help to N/O tells us how much he is aware of geography in the southern U.S.
There currently are two roads into and out of N/O I10 eastbound and I10 westbound. Both of these roads were by local reports, impassable for three days. I am sure that a vast number of people would like to have helped but simply could not get into or out of the area. Airports were not open to land supplies and if the N/O airport had been available, it is twenty miles away and cut off by the flooding, Local, state or federal government cannot do the impossible.
talk talk talk said…
That's why I said SHIP and talked about how Americans used their boats for rescue. Of course the roads are impassable; that's what the government should've known would happen given New Orleans is below sea level and the levees would likely break. They ought to have anticipated that the only way around initially is by BOAT and amphibious boats or airboats would be necessary! Your compatriots figured that out pretty fast. This is what your tax dollars pay for -- for people with expertise to use their brains and plan appropriately.

As for the first part of your first sentence, I have no idea what you're talking about. Canadians generally don't hate government. We just expect good government. It's in our constitution: "peace, order, and good government."