by Jeff Siegel
Two things you won’t hear in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike that you did hear after Hurricane Katrina: First, there’s no need to rebuild Houston, and we should even think about abandoning it. What’s the point of pouring money and materiel into Houston when the same thing could happen the next time there’s a strong hurricane? Please see those wonderful humanitarians, Gary Becker and Richard Posner, who made that argument about New Orleans. And that would be the Richard Posner — so nice to to see a federal judge blow off New Orleans.
Second, Texans are just lazy. If they had taken proper precautions, none of this would have happened. This was one of my favorite refrains after Katrina — that New Orleanians brought the destruction on themselves. As I write this, almost two million homes in the Houston area are without electricity, and the power may be out for weeks. So much for being prepared.
Why won’t you hear those things? Because the Houston metro area is more wealthy and more Anglo than New Orleans. It doesn’t hurt that the president, who is wealthy and Anglo, grew up in Houston, either.
American politics is about class and race in a way it has not been in the 25 years I have been writing about politics. It’s not just that the rich and the white think they’re better than the rest of us; they probably always thought that. This time, though, they don’t care what we think, and they aren’t embarrassed or ashamed for feeling that way.
And if we dare to object, they say we’re being unfair: That we’re engaging in class warfare. Of course, what they fail to mention is that they have all the weapons.
(Political graphic by AZRainman, via Flickr, using a Creative Commons License. To see more of AZRainman's work, please check out his blog.)
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by Jeff Siegel