Editor’s Note: This diary was first posted on Daily Kos as Katrina Report: Democrats Screw Up Again on Thursday Oct 06, 2005. I consider this both a Katrina diary, and a political-oriented rant against the Democratic Party. In reviewing this diary, I think it again gives a good idea of the conditions here on the coast, and reflects the already tempid interest the rest of the US was showing towards Katrina recovery – as in, not much.
One on-going commentary I read is that the Democratic Party never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Well, with the on-going cleanup and relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina, I see the Democratic party missing an opportunity.
I write this after receiving two bulk-rate fundraising letters this past week. To put these letters into proper context: Some of my friends are still living in tents, campers parked in their driveways or in houses without interior walls (as my wife and I are). No one down here is much concerned about anything other than repairing storm damages and relief efforts. Many people are upset by the lack of response from federal disaster agencies, insurance companies refusing to pay out claims, and standing in hours-long lines to get ANY amount of relief assistance.
The first letter I received early this week was a standard fund-raising piece from the DNC asking for pledges to help fight the “Radical Right Wing Agenda of the Bush Administration.” This first letter really irritated me. I mean, GOOD %^$#@* GOD PEOPLE, couldn’t the SOMEONE in the DNC match Katrina disaster area zip codes against their mailing list?
Isn’t there ONE FRIGGING PERSON in the DNC who thought it might not be a good idea to ask for campaign contributions from someone living in a tent?
At least, if the DNC really felt a need to send out letters, isn’t there ONE STRATEGIST somewhere in the DNC that thought to tie the fiasco of government hurricane relief efforts into a pitch on republican incompetence and corruption?
To compound my irritation, yesterday I received a fund raising letter with survey from Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. Her cover letter explained what a good listener she was and how the most important part of being a senator was knowing how to listen to the needs and concerns of the people Yada, Yada, Yada. Then the letter went into a fundraising pitch and asked me to fill out a survey indicating my five most important concerns.
The survey options were the usual laundry list of Democratic issues; Economy, Tax Cuts, Reproductive Rights, Separation of Chuch and State, etc. After looking through them, I realized that not one of the items listed were on my list of most pressing issues. So, seeing as Senator Clinton is such a good listener and wants to know our concerns, I’ve decided to tell her.
Senator, here is a sample list of issues that people living on the Gulf Coast might currently be interested in:
- “Finding a job to replace the one I had lost to hurricane Katrina damage.”
- “Moving out of the family tent into someplace with heat before the start of Winter.”
- “Moving out of the Red Cross shelter into anyplace else before the shelter closes.”
- “Getting food when relief supplies end and I still haven’t found a new job.”
- “Making contact with the Red Cross or FEMA to file for disaster relief money.”
- “Receiving disaster relief money after I file with the Red Cross and FEMA.”
- “Getting my children back into school.”
- “Raising money to level what is left of my old home and rebuild.”
- “Getting an Insurance Adjustor to File My Claim.”
- “Being Allowed Back to My Home to Recover Whatever I Can.”
- “Why it took so long for any government-associated disaster relief group to show up.”
I’m sure focus groups could give you some additional listening points, senator.
So to the DNC, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, and any other democrat thinking of sending out a form letter asking for campaign contributions: Make the RNC smile. Do their work for them, show people just how out of touch the Democratic party is with the needs of average people. Some suggestions include:
– Send a form letter pitching for “$100.00, $50.00, $25.00, or amount Other” to a family living in a tent next to the concrete slab that was once their house, wondering how to get their tomorrow’s dinner.
– Talk about separation of Church and State to a person living in a Church-provided shelter, living on food provided by a church-sponsored relief effort. Especially talk about separation of church and state to the people in church shelters who have yet to see ANY federal relief money.
– Talk about Reproductive Rights to a person who just stood in a Red Cross Disaster relief line for 5 hours, hoping to receive $335.
– Talk about tax relief to a person who lost their job to hurricane Katrina damages, and has no idea where they might work next.
– Talk about Health Care and Medicare to a family who lost medical coverage when they lost their job. But since people’s health needs might be focused on the immediate needs of replacing lost blood pressure medication, be sure to talk about abstract qualities such as choice of health care providers.
So, please folks, just go right on missing opportunities.
End of Rant
Editor’s Comment: In the comments section of my Daily Kos dairy, one person wrote that they forwarded this to the DNC. I did not see any more fundraising letters from either the DNC or Senator Clinton afterwards, so maybe this diary actually did some good.