Kanye West, Barbara Bush lay down the beat

In the days following Hurricane Katrina, Kanye West said, “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” Barbara Bush said, “And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.” Two different people. Two different opinions regarding the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

These statements reveal that something is wrong with our country and those who govern it. A serious evaluation of the state of our society is desperately needed. The handling of the evacuation and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina opened the eyes of many and keeps the eyes of some closed.

Making racist accusations against our commander-in-chief and government in general is not helpful, but this ought to be taken as a realization that people in this country are unhappy with the current administration.

When the former first lady, the current first grandmother, considers the displaced Gulf Coast area residents better off, it shows a detachment from reality, more so than the previous opinion against her son.

Like 9/11, the disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina allowed our nation to see where we are vulnerable and what needs improving. Our government outwardly professes “compassionate conservatism,” yet its actions display “non-compassionate incompetence.”

The richest country in the world knows how to give orders and pull a trigger but needs directions on how to lend a helping hand. The U.S. is compelled to manage its superiority with violence, firepower and technological advancements.

It is no wonder that with war we quickly pull the trigger but prove to be inept with helping those in need from a natural disaster at home. If our nation and the rest of the world began to open its heart to guide its actions to create peace and curtail suffering, we could slowly create a planet that cares.

Unfortunately, we live in a country of quick fixes and quick pick-me-ups. We tend to handle situations with haste and with little regard for others. Violence proves an easy means to an end, a solution when all other options appear futile. When Gulf Coast area residents needed our country the most, our government took its time.

Does a man-made disaster deserve more attention than a natural disaster? When loss of life occurs all disasters become the same. As soon as our country begins to reorganize its mixed up priorities, we might have a chance to better protect our citizens should tragedy-in any form-strike again.

Tragedy is part of the cycle of life, but we have the potential to subdue the painful trail of tears tragedy can leave. As the horrific scenes from the Gulf Coast region flooded television and computer screens, Kanye West probably said what many were thinking. Mrs. Bush, a woman of socio-economic privilege, reveals her “let them eat cake” attitude in times of great need. There is no sensible reason for such an attitude; senility is the only excuse for this asinine comment.

There is much to rebuild following Hurricane Katrina and even more to rebuild for the well-being of our citizens and country. Will we finally learn from our mistakes? I hope we will not need another war or act of nature or terrorism before we turn toward the philosophy of kindness and away from the philosophy of greed and power. For now, we can all begin to follow the guidance of the Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nath Hanh: “There is no path to peace. Peace is the path.”

Sam Rega can be contacted at s.rega@umiami.edu.