Speaking about the situation in New Orleans and the monstrous accusation that somehow President Bush sits there deciding which people should be rescued and which should be left to die, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, making a rare foray into domestic politics, had a few interesting things to say to the New York Times:
When asked how she explained the racism that is in America to foreign governments, who questioned that country's right to "spread democracy", she said furiously (knowing a good deal more about the subject than, say, President Chirac or the average Arab potentate):
"You go to any other meeting around the world and show me the kind of diversity that you see in America's cabinet, in America's Foreign Service, in America's business community, in America's journalistic community. Show me that kind of diversity anyplace else in the world, and I'm prepared to be lectured about race."
You go, girl.
But her most interesting comment was about the President, whom she has known since the early nineties.
“Ms. Rice said she was first impressed by Mr. Bush in the 1990's, not because of any foreign policy issues, but because he spoke of "the soft bigotry of low expectations" and the phrase meant something to her. She recalled being told by a high school teacher "that maybe I was junior college material" and added:
"I know about the soft bigotry of low expectations. And it's not in this president. It is, however, deeply ingrained in our system, and we're going to have to do something about it."”
Well, in a slightly different way, we all know about the soft bigotry of low expectations. This country suffers from it as much as, if not more than many others.
Oh and by the way, the latest count of bodies is around 280 in Louisiana, which puts the tally so far at just over 500 in the four state hit by Katrina. Far it be from me to dismiss over 500 deaths and the attendant tragedies but it is a long way short of the predicted 10,000 in New Orleans alone, of the 3,000 (or just under) of 9/11 and of the 20,000 (at least) in France and Italy as a result of the 2003 heat wave.