I heard there’s been a hurricane in Africa. I’m not sure where but as I rushed to the TV and watched in horror all I saw was poor black faces, tattered clothing, looting, shooting, starvation, begging, crying babies and shocked mothers. I look on in disbelief and thought to myself those people have it so bad. It’s strange because I wasn’t aware Africa had hurricanes but it must be true. I heard the president of this country was on vacation while the hurricane hit, I heard that he continued to stay on his vacation for a full two days after the hurricane had come, after the levees had broken and after the people had started to die. I’m not surprised. That is just like something a corrupt African president would do. But still I shake my head in doubt. I felt ashamed for this man who could neglect his very poorest in their time of need. Surly this wouldn’t happen in America. Just the other day I heard Bush speak about those poor victims in that far away land. I imagine he was sitting in the Oval Office, safe and far away from the decrepit cesspool of the hurricane’s aftermath. I imagine he looked resplendent in his suite as he spoke. My heart began to beat harder as I heard him say with conviction “In America we do not abandon our fellow citizens in their hour of need.” And I knew he was telling the truth. I knew my president would never take an extra two days sabbatical while some of his citizens burned, drowned and starved. It made me feel so superior to that poor African nation. I knew that if such a horrible tragedy were to happen in America, Ole Dubya would be right there in the midst coordinating relief, doing what a president is elected to do; lead.

I heard this country took nearly a week to get food and water to the victims. Imagine that, a full week to feed and quench the thirst of those countrymen that needed it most. Those silly third worlders they still haven’t gotten it down. They can’t even feed their own. Surely they would have been prepared for a disaster like this. Surely they knew ahead of time that something catastrophic was going to happen, days or even weeks in advance. Surely there was a contingency plan to get each and every one of their citizens, white and black, rich and poor, sick and healthy out of the city. My goodness, at least I can rest easy knowing that America would never abandon me like that. Imagine how those poor refugees must feel, abandoned by their own government. It’s startling really, but at least I know the president would never do that to me. After all I am a fellow American.

Someone told me this country hadn’t the armed forces or even the equipment to assist those in the hurricane zone. How sad, a country that hasn’t the resources to protect its very own. Where could those resources be? I’m sure at one point it had them and I’m sure it knew what was needed in case of a disaster, but yet the equipment was strangely absent. It must be one of those West African nations, always fighting: Sierra Leone, Liberia, Congo or maybe Sudan in the East, they treat the blacks so horribly over there. I could imagine them corralling them in large arenas and making them live in squalid conditions; expecting them to fend for themselves and letting them starve. Yes, from what I’ve heard a country like Sudan would do just that. They probably had their equipment in some other part of the region trying to acquire some more territory, killing people who are different from themselves, whose beliefs are different from their own, trying to control other countries’ policies. Silly Africans, when will they ever learn? In America we believe in democracy and choice and the right for all nations to govern themselves; we believe in sovereignty. Our equipment is holed up in our bases, along with our soldiers who are just waiting to answer the call and are prepared for just such an emergency. We wouldn’t be off killing people in foreign lands while our own citizens perished. I’m so proud to be an American.

Someone told me that this country was so proud that it has refused to take aid from other nations but I seriously doubt that. They said Cuba has offered 1500 doctors and 26 tons of supplies to assist in any way possible but a full 2 days later Castro was still waiting for the green light. Imagine a government too proud to take help from another. I’m sure those citizens that are stuck in the hurricane zone would approve though. They would die before they took medical help from a country like Cuba. “Hey, at least we’ve got our dignity. No food, no aid, no water, but our pride is still in tact.” In America our first priority would have been to save lives not save face. My president would have accepted any and all offers to help and deal with the politics later. We know what is most important.

I read in the paper that the president of this country was aware of a possible catastrophe, that money had been set aside and given to the proper agency charged with fixing any problems with the levee. The article stated that the president had diverted funds from this project to pay for some war in a far off land that most of his citizens don’t even agree with. I still can’t believe it. As I read I just shook my head, appalled that such a corrupt leader is allowed to stay in office. In America citizens would be up in arms; they would call for an impeachment or an independent investigation at the very least. But sadly this is Africa and the people there have very few rights. Even if they do learn the truth the despot will remain in office. I really do feel for them.

We all know I’m not talking about Africa and as Bush, Rice, Rumsfeld, Chertoff and Brown skirt their way around the issues. As they try and blame nature, logistics, bad timing and circumstance for their failure to act and their laissez-faire attitude toward what is one of the most devastating disasters in American history I’m stunned to see we have swallowed it whole. There’s no outrage, no cries for justice or pleas for the truth. We take it down and accept it as we stare at our TVs, far away from New Orleans. And we trust that these fine men and women are truly doing the best they can. We take the placebo and it makes us feel better.

The truth is, inside, these five are running around like chickens with their heads cut off. They are contacting their spin doctors and image consultants, trying to think of excuses on the spur to divert blame. The truth is these five have failed us all. They have failed us in the West, those in the East, the North, the Plains and most definitely, those in the South. The truth is our troops are overseas fighting a war most Americans don’t agree with and the rest of the world is against. But yet as the bombs began to fall we did nothing. The truth is our equipment, our multimillion dollar ships, our humvees and cargo planes are in Iraq aiding our unfortunate, yet brave soldiers. The truth is that had we not gone into Iraq we would have had the man power, the means and equipment to save thousands and to aid those in New Orleans who were stuck, who needed food and assistance. The truth is if our president hadn’t diverted funds to feed the war, the levee might have been fortified and those people wouldn’t be drowning in a city that was once an emerald on the gulf.

Wake up! We are being lied to and we have been lied to for a long time. Our president cares more about big business than he does charity, more about fraternity than education and more about the grotesquely rich than the tragically impoverished. We didn’t go into Iraq for altruistic reasons. If you don’t think our government is fallible, just watch. Watch as when the dust settles and those people who we have chosen to guide us start to point fingers. They won’t be able to spin yarn quickly enough and their lies are sure to unravel. Wait and see, and learn what Bush was doing on his last few days of vacation. What was so important? If you thought there was equality in America, think again, look at the faces of the people stuck in those convention halls. It’s a sea of black, of poverty of despair. These people had little to begin with and now they have nothing. The government has failed them. They have been given no help, no opportunity, nothing. They stayed in their projects, killed themselves, remained out of the mainstream and were thoroughly disregarded by our government. But now the face of the American poor is on the big screen for the entire world to see. And the rest of the world is asking themselves, is this America? Is this the land of the free and home of the brave? Is this the role model we are supposed to follow? They are looking in disbelief as they realize that the poor are treated no better in America than in their own countries. That here to our government treats the poor as a burden. None of you who have watched this tragedy unfold on your television can deny that there is something wrong with America. Katrina is the proverbial straw. No longer will Bush be able to espouse the virtues of American society to people abroad when they have seen the truth here at home. The people of the world, who had thought he was a hypocrite before, now have their suspicions confirmed.

Ask yourself what’s happened to the “Leave No Child Behind Initiative” the funding’s still there but the progress is non existent. Ask yourself what’s happened to those programs that can directly make a difference in the lives of our poor? Programs like: Medicaid, Even Start, Talent Search, Upward Bound, Safe and Drug Free school state grants, Alcohol Abuse Reduction, Drop Out Prevention and the list goes on a myriad of programs have been axed to fuel the war that most of us want so desperately to end. This is where our president’s agenda lies. Not here at home. Not helping the poor and the sick, not aiding our veterans with cheaper health care or providing the next generation with a better environment or education. They lie in the Middle East searching for oil and granting contracts to those companies infested with friends of our beloved Mr. Bush, all becoming rich while the poor here at home go ignored. Ask yourself why we are slashing the taxes of the wealthy and spending billions of dollars on foreign wars when our poor are quite literally drowning.

This is not something we expect from the leader of the free world where one would presume the poor to be making gains, the races to be moving toward equality and the health of the nation to be improving. If there is anything that Mr. Bush has done successfully it has been to lie to America and the world about his benevolent and impassioned crusade to help those less fortunate. For he has made a conscious effort to ensure that there are people in his own land whose lives are on par with those in the third world.