Though we are experiencing one of the worst hurricanes in the nation’s history, this waterfront scene looks peaceful, elegant, and intact. That is because the Hotel del Coronado is in San Diego, far away from Katrina’s devastating winds. It is also where George W. Bush spent last night, while thousands of people in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama fled in snail-like traffic, searched for loved ones, swam through the streets, or hung out of attic windows, yelling for help.
While levees burst, a major New Orleans bridge came apart, buildings were swallowed by floodwaters, and looters took over the city, the National Guard was nowhere to be seen. To patch one of the levees, 3,000 sandbags were to have been dropped by Blackhawk helicopters, but they never arrived.
Though reading The Pet Goat while the country was under attack may have made Bush look inept, partying at an oceanside resort while Americans are losing their homes, their sources of income, and their lives is, at the very least, an example of shockingly poor taste, not to mention an abandonment of leadership. New Orleans is in a state of absolute chaos, despite the presence of a competent mayor and a competent governor. Hurricane Katrina has created a national disaster. Bush has done everything in his power to prevent the restoration of Louisiana’s coast, and he has severely cut funding for hurricane protection. It is no surprise that he doesn’t want to look Governor Blanco in the eye. But whooping it up at a resort while Gulf Coast states endure a living hell is a new low.