Condescension Masked as Compassion

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Condescension Masked as Compassion

John Nichols of The Nation writes of former First Lady Barbara Bush's recent visit to the Astrodome in Houston, where thousands of hurricane evacuees are staying:
Commenting on the facilities that have been set up for the evacuees -- cots crammed side-by-side in a huge stadium where the lights never go out and the sound of sobbing children never completely ceases -- former First Lady Barbara Bush concluded that the poor people of New Orleans had lucked out.

"Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this, this is working very well for them," Mrs. Bush told American Public Media's "Marketplace" program, before returning to her multi-million dollar Houston home.

On the tape of the interview, Mrs. Bush chuckles audibly as she observes just how great things are going for families that are separated from loved ones, people who have been forced to abandon their homes and the only community where they have ever lived, and parents who are explaining to children that their pets, their toys and in some cases their friends may be lost forever.
Judging from Mrs. Bush's words, you'd have thought she had been observing grasshoppers in a jar.

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