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“I don’t know what you’re calling unresponsive. Can I see? No I can’t see you. I wear glasses. And I can’t afford to buy any. I heard.”
“All we need are honest answers.”
“That is honest. I have no reason to lie to you. Who are you, Mr. Shays? What have you done for me? I’m sitting up here, now, I don’t know where I’m going to be tomorrow. Why would I have to sit here and lie to you? Let’s get honest about it.”
When Shays pointed out that she still hadn’t answered his questions, Mama D became indignant: “You can’t sit there and do that, Mister. I’m 60, and even if I wasn’t in America, I wouldn’t sit there and let you do that. I answered you. And my answers are still the same. You got all the powers in your hand. I had to take a bath when I got to Washington, or unless it would have been in cold water. I’m 60 years old!”
To be fair, Mama D is likely a kind and decent soul; according to news reports, she opened her house to flood victims. But generosity doesn’t equate with rationality, and the fact that she’s roughly the same age as Mick Jagger doesn’t confer wisdom:
“Please, give us some response. We don’t need the rhetoric. Hubert Humphrey Institute said approximately 40 years ago that African American children commit no more crime than any other ethnic group. And 40 years later we’re looking at an incarceration of almost 100 percent of young African American males. We need to get on the right page here. Let me have all my babies. They’re working in the jails free. Just let me have ‘em…and my mentally ill children and adults. They’re hard workers. We can do more in New Orleans than any group that you have there. Police brutality? We’re used to that. We got to do something about that too. Us as citizens. We got to remember that from the sixties. You can’t make rules that oppress some of your people. All of us got to be full Americans. And we don’t need to get violent about it. That’s just human nature.”
IF MAMA D WAS THE SHINING star of the proceedings, the supporting players followed her lead in their defiance of logic. Sitting beside her was Leah Hodges, an overwrought, dreadlocked “community activist” who seemed to channel the spirit of Angela Davis. In her opening statement, Hodges repeatedly referred to a crowd of evacuees stranded for several days on the high ground of a causeway as a “concentration camp” — a characterization which caught the attention of Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), who respectfully noted that, as bad as conditions were, “Not a single person was marched into a gas chamber and killed.” But Hodges was adamant. “I’m going to call it what it is,” she said. “That is the only thing I could compare what we went through to.”
It was Hodges who, later in her prepared statement, trotted out the most formulaic agitprop: “We have been exposed to genocide by ethnic cleansing, the rights of our children have been violated. Women’s rights against discrimination, our economic, social and cultural rights have been violated. Our human rights have been violated. Our rights against torture have been violated. Our rights as prisoners of war within the scope and jurisdiction of the Geneva Accords have been violated. Migrant worker rights have been violated. These and all other violations both expressed and implied arise directly from the failure of the United States government to eliminate apartheid practices and all other forms of oppressive government practices against poor and working poor citizens of the United States, who are mostly African American or otherwise people of color.”
At least she left out “Free Mumia!”
Evacuee Patricia Thompson, sitting beside Hodges, testified, “When we stepped outside, guns were pointed on us. I felt like we were being told to go outside in order to be killed.” Thompson claimed that soldiers trained their machine guns’ laser sights on the forehead of her five-year old granddaughter. When Rep. Shays said he found that hard to believe, she replied, “You believe what you want.”
“No one’s going to tell me it wasn’t a race issue,” Thompson concluded.
That, in a nutshell, is the problem.
As McKinney declared, “Racism is something we don’t like to talk about, but we have to acknowledge it. And the world saw the effects of American-style racism in the drama as it was outplayed by the Katrina survivors.”
Except racism is something that McKinney and her ilk love to talk about, can’t stop talking about. They call congressional hearings for no other purpose than to talk about it. And as the Katrina hearing illustrated, when black people make claims about racism — no matter how irresponsible, no matter how unsupportable, no matter how farfetched — they’re not expected to meet even the most rudimentary standards of logic and evidence. Not even if they’re under oath. (Ironically, a sure sign of racism is the failure to hold people superficially different from you to your own intellectual and moral standards; in that sense, the entire mainstream media which let pass the Katrina testimony without pointing out its foolishness is indeed guilty of racism.) The federal government’s response to the Katrina disaster did not prove racism — except in the minds of people who need no proof, who’ve already made up their minds, who will not listen to reason… and who regard the expectation of reason by their listeners — as Reps. Shays and Miller discovered — as a personal affront.
President Bush would do well to study the Katrina testimony before he tries to “reach out” and “do a better job of communicating.” It may not be worth the effort.
Mark Goldblatt (Mgold57@aol.com) is the author of Africa Speaks, a satire of black urban culture.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online