Saturday, December 17, 2005

Say the Magic Word. It’s Mandatory.

I am still watching Blanco’s Wednesday testimony in front of the House Select Committee on C-SPAN.org. (I know. I’m slow. And I can't find a transcript anywhere.)

The republican members of the committee seem to be stuck on two fantasies. They just can’t get over the pictures of flooded school buses and the fact that Blanco and Nagin didn’t say the magic word “mandatory” earlier.

The buses were never in play. Many people chose to stay. And the people who the system really failed – the invisible people – they were never in the plans to be picked up.

And, as far as the magic word goes, as Blanco put it: “Now, because the word mandatory was not used until Sunday morning does not mean that we were not evacuating the area.”

Reps. Rogers, Shays, Davis, et al. seemed to believe that if the state and city officials had just said “mandatory,” all those who had elected to stay and all the poor, elderly, handicapped, and otherwise incapable of leaving would have been teleported on to the school buses in that picture and would have been whisked driverless out of the city.

Well, generally I think the editorial writers at the Times-Pic do a mediocre job. But, addressing these two republican post-Katrina fetishes, Jarvis DeBerry’s latest editorial hits a home run just with the title:

We needed levees, not more buses.
Maybe if we say the magic word we can get Category 5 protection. Because it’s mandatory! Mandatory, y’erd me!

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