I don't think I have to point out to anyone just how horrendous the situation down in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama is today. Hurricane Katrina has proved to be the worst natural disaster to strike the United States since the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, and the effects of this unprecedented catastrophe will surely be felt in this country for many months, and perhaps years to come.
As rescue workers from all over the country converge on the gulf coast states, millions of other Americans are donating much needed aid dollars to the relief effort, and community leaders from Birmingham to Baton Rouge are working day and night to save the lives of untold numbers of flood victims.
Average citizens around our nation are doing their best to stay focussed on the task at hand, and avoid complaining about the comparatively minor inconvenience of having to pay higher gas prices in the near future.
For now, most of our citizens seem united in the task of helping the many hundreds of thousands of people directly effected by the brutal assault of Katrina. Their calm resolve, and determination to carry on in the face of such a horrible event is typical of the way Americans deal with disasters, and of that we can all be proud.
That having been said, there are, unfortunately, a few people in this country who have decided to focus on something else entirely... petty political agendas. Indeed, even before the true scope of the devastation has been fully assessed, and the bodies of the dead can be recovered and laid to rest, liberal activists are already cranking up their collective spin machine in a pathetic attempt to blame their political enemies for the disaster.
I know it's difficult for most people to believe, but it appears that the left's capacity for shameless exploitation, unsubstantiated rhetoric, and blatant hypocrisy knows absolutely no bounds.
Among the more reprehensible remarks made over the past couple of days regarding the supposed Republican-caused disaster, are the following which I read in an article published on the News Max website.
"As Hurricane Katrina dismantles Mississippi's Gulf Coast, it's worth recalling the central role that Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour played in derailing the Kyoto Protocol and kiboshing President Bush's iron-clad campaign promise to regulate CO2."
That statement was attributed to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and a more loathsome one I had not previously encountered. Then again, I had yet to read his next quote, which was even more despicable than the first.
"Perhaps it was Barbour's memo [to President Bush concerning CO2 emissions] that caused Katrina, at the last moment, to spare New Orleans and save its worst flailings for the Mississippi coast."
How anyone could spew such tripe, especially at this particular time in history, is beyond my ability to conceive. It's as if the man were utterly devoid of both sound judgment and common decency. His complete lack of propriety is stunning, and the inanity of his argument has left me wondering if, perhaps, he has not suffered some sort of mental breakdown of late.
Of course, such drivel is not exclusive to American extremists. Germany's Minister of the Environment, Juergen Trittin, recently proclaimed that "The American president is closing his eyes to the economic and human costs his land and the world economy are suffering under natural catastrophes like Katrina and because of neglected environmental policies."
All I have to say about this ridiculous indictment is, with friends like this, who needs Al-Qaeda? And while I could easily rebut Herr Trittin's arguments, as well as those of Bobby Jr., and every other demented amateur global warming theorist who's decided to crawl out of the woodwork lately, I won't bother. Now is not the time for such debates. Now is the time for all good Americans to come to the aid of their fellow countrymen and women who are in desperate need of assistance.
It's too bad that some folks just can't bring themselves to set aside their political agendas for even a few days while their own country attempts to deal with the loss of, as yet, uncounted innocent lives. RFK Jr. and his ilk should be ashamed of themselves for trying to turn a national tragedy into a campaign talking point, and foreign officials like Juergen Trittin would do well to keep their big traps shut altogether. I don't see any of them offering to lend a hand with the massive undertaking before us, and until they do, they can all go straight to hell.
By Edward L. Daley
Owner of the Daley Times-Post