rhetoric vs. bill bennett and president bush

anger over the inequalities in america often degenerates into overheated, sometimes divisive rhetoric. this kind of dialogue distracts us from addressing the real questions we face and finding solutions to improve race relations. it’s easier to assign blame than to deal with the root causes of poverty and the reasons why it continues among african-americans and others.

fellow blogger amilicar has this take on president bush/bill bennett and the response to katrina.
i’m posting some excerpts here.

“In the Board room down in the Dungeon of the Republican Radio Broadcasters producers weekly meeting,a decision was made ; to reassert the confidence of the republican faithful, following the national and international exposure and embarrassment the President got, for his open racial response, to the devastation in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.”

“As a result of that meeting, William Bennett decided he has no fear , nor love for America, so he would fire up the trailer park, to reignite the Red states, some excitement on behalf of the sagging approval rating of their beloved President Bush.”

there is no question that the response to hurricane katrina wasn’t perfect. there were colossal screw-ups on the local and state levels in new orleans, and FEMA didn’t perform as well as it could have. this continued carping that the recovery efforts were more effective for one race of people over another on purpose is just asinine. we saw more african-americans that were victims of katrina than other racial groups in new orleans because there was a disproportionate number of them in that area. the system in place was ineffective FOR EVERYBODY.

it amuses me when i read statements such as the above quoted statement. there is this persistent myth out there that conservative talk radio hosts all read from the same script. anyone who actually listens to the variety of conservative radio shows out there knows that this is not true. as far as bill bennett is concerned, when you read his statement in context, its meaning is altered quite a bit. bill bennett is not a racist. i think that he got caught saying something that he probably wishes he had said differently. i’m not here to be an apologist for bennett, but this charge is unfair.

to suggest that bill bennett said what he said to energize the red states and improve the president’s poll numbers is way past normal cynicism. that is accusing red staters and republicans of harboring racist attitudes, and this charge has no support by legitimate evidence. even if true, bennett would be wasting his time. it’s blindingly obvious that this president doesn’t govern by his poll numbers anyway.

i understand frustration with the current way things work in this country. i’ve been there myself a time or two. i just think we should be able to get beyond the personal attacks and the arrow-slinging to work together on making changes in the system that will alleviate some of these problems. we can come from different points of view, but at the end of the day, finding a solution to these problems should be more important than winning the argument.

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