Because the government won’t help you. However, if you’re upper middle to upper-class, living in a mostly white area with a Republican governor you’ll be fine.

The evacuation operation was going smoothly Tuesday afternoon, and National Guard troops sent to maintain order were described as polite and helpful.

AT&T provided Internet access to the evacuees and charged their cell phones for free. Volunteers offered massage therapy, yoga, kosher food and art projects for kids.”There was a call for artists last night,” said Brian Patterson, who manages community programs at the San Diego Museum of Art. “And I thought, ‘this is what I do, anyway,’ so I came down here,” he said.

Evacuees also had access to information on insurance and got medical help. They were given snacks and drinks and necessities such as baby wipes, tooth brushes, toothpaste and hand sanitizers.

Yoga and Kosher food. It took the Bush Administration five days to get a fresh bottle of water into New Orleans, but in San Diego they have Yoga classes and the government is taking into account religious dietary restrictions.

Even the Associated Press noticed the contrast in the Bush Administration’s treatment of evacuees from Hurricane Katrina and the San Diego Fires.

Like Hurricane Katrina evacuees two years earlier in New Orleans, thousands of people rousted by natural disaster fled to the NFL stadium here, waiting out the calamity and worrying about their homes.

The similarities ended there, as an almost festive atmosphere reigned at Qualcomm Stadium.

Bands belted out rock ‘n’ roll, lavish buffets served gourmet entrees, and massage therapists helped relieve the stress for those forced to flee their homes because of wildfires.

“The people are happy. They have everything here,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared Monday night after his second Qualcomm tour.

Of course, this was after the article had gone through several re-writes, including a change of headline. The original AP headline was “Civility Reigns at San Diego Stadium,” as if to draw a contrast between the scene in San Diego and those savage Hurricane Katrina evacuees.

The headline is especially galling considering much of the violence reported in the wake of Hurricane Katrina was exaggerated and made up.

Maybe conditions in the Superdome would have been better if the evacuees had massage therapists to help them cope with the stress of being abandoned and left to die for five days; but I’m inclined to think that maybe food, water, and shelter would have been enough.

Had New Orleans been a mostly white city, they would have gotten all that and more.

There are many factors at work here, the fact that the governor of California is a Republican and the Bush Administration would like to keep it that way, the fact that the evacuees here are financially better off than those in Hurricane Katrina, and the fact that the evacuees are not overwhelmingly black. But it really comes down to the same thing, which is that in America how the government treats you hinges entirely on your race, class, and assumed political affiliation.

Related Posts with Thumbnails