Did you hear Laura Bush yesterday? I did, but I was so freaked out that it wasn’t until this morning that the horror of the remarks she made from the glistening town of Lafayette–where apparently all the refugees had just had steaming hot bubble baths and were currently enjoying tea and scones and croquet on the lawn–began to congeal in my mind.
She blew through the bulk of my attention span thanking and re-thanking the local nibs who flanked her in a semicircle, and praising and re-praising the local citizenry for "coming together." I had nearly dozed off by the time she was finally asked to bestow upon the nation her thoughts on the umpteenth circle of hell that is New Orleans, and why the feds have been so lackadaisical in turning up with the picnic baskets. In response, Bush, taking the tone of the magnanimous patrician explaining with infinite patience the facts of feudal life to the unwashed rabble, observed that the situation is, in fact, consistent with the natural order of things. In other words, it’s always gonna the poor black people who suffocate in squalid convention centers waiting for the National Guard to mosey along, and it’s tough teacakes, but that’s just "the way it is;" you can hardly expect the federal government to give poor people the priority.
Meanwhile I have just heard a woman on NPR, apparently some kind of disaster expert, espousing a philosphy of segregation in the refugee shelters. People, she said, naturally want to be with people just "like themselves." Apparently having survived a terrifying natural disaster is not a common enough denominator; preserving class and racial boundaries is always the best comfort.
She also said that shelter organizers (presumably because they have never seen a woman before) should remember that women (presumably because we are patently bizarre) have "different" needs.