Why the Conservative Approach Won't Work
I'm sure by now, we've all seen the Republican talking points blaming the victims of the hurricane for not listening to the mandatory evacuation order (which contradicts their other talking points relating to how no one knew it would be so bad, but ignore that for now), and in the black and white world that Republicans seem to live in, that may even be true to some extent. If people didn't want to get killed by the storm, they should have left, that seems pretty simple. However, here in reality, where the rest of us live, we realize that things aren't that simple. As a matter of fact, even if everyone was able to leave New Orleans, even if the Mayor had personally sent a car to pick up each and every resident, the reality is that there would still be people that would not have left. So, here's where the problem occurs, even if we can all agree that everyone should have left (which seeing the conditons now, obviously leaving would have been preferable in most cases), and even if we could agree that everyone was able to leave (something which clearly isn't true, but ignore that for now), and even if we could all agree that the people who stayed got what was coming to them (and I don't think even a lot of the most cold hearted Republicans would go that far), then we still have the survivors there on the rooftops, waiting to be rescued. Either we're going to rescue or we're going to ignore them to death. And I don't think anyone is ready to just let people die in the streets because they are less fortunate, or even because they made a bad decision. So, if you're not ready to do that, you will have people to rescue, and if you know that, then you need to be prepared for it, and you're still responsible for it. The government should be there to protect people who can't protect themselves, even if that means in some cases, you're also protecting people who should have been able to protect themselves but chose not to. Ideally, everyone would always do whatever is in their best interests (nevermind that people can't see the future and sometimes make the wrong decision even when they are honestly trying to make the right one), but in reality, that's just not going to happen. We need to be ready to help those people, whether it's during a natural disaster or not. Or we can just let them suffer, tell ourselves that someone else will help them, and take comfort in the fact that it's their own fault that they are suffering.