Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Y'all just lost the Wimmins, y'know.

On Sunday, I had an interesting converstaion with two red staters. At the end of it I was convinced that Katrina would send all the married women who'd voted for Bush running back into the arms of the Democrats.

The man I spoke with was all bluster and outrage, saying that this situation was a tragedy, but people had brought it on themselves by not evacuating.

What was interesting was the woman's response. She had the look of someone who'd realized something very frightening. She was quieter, and after the bluster was done, she looked at her 8 year-old daughter and said that she lived near a nuclear power plant, just outside a big city. She said she'd been thinking about it, and she didn't know how the hell she could get her family out of there if the evacuation air-sirens went off.

This strategy of blaming the poor who didn't evacuate will lose the Republicans the married woman's vote. Especially now, since Oprah has shown them the footage of the people who stayed--the old, the poor, and all the children.

Fundamentally, women aren't like men when it comes to evacuation--we don't think strategy, we think logistics. Beucase that's our job. We're the ones who know that no matter how much time you leave, it still takes another 20 minutes beyond the time you set aside to get 3 kids packed up for the beach. We know that it's impossible to remember to bring every single thing you meant to bring, that even when you thought about it the night before and laid everything out in the living room floor, one of the kids always moves the sunblock or his towel or you forget the sandwiches in the refrigerator. We know exactly how risky it is to stake your kids' life on your remembering to bring every single thing.

Every middle-class mother hears "immediate evacuation" and "5 days in the Superdome" and thinks, "Jesus Christ, I have no idea how much water I would bring for 5 days. Is it 5 gallons? Ohmigod, where are our passports? Do I have to bring the kids' birth certificates? What about the deed to the house? Would I have time to get my mother's jewelery out of the safe deposit, or is that selfishness that's going to kill my children?"

Tell her that she's got to evacuate without a car, and she'll start shaking her head. Tell her she's gotta do it in 18 hours, Grayhound and Amtrak are shut down, it's 250 miles to get out of the hurricane's path, and she's got $200 bucks in her pocket, and every soccer mom will know with certainty what every soccer dad doesn't get--that it's impossible. Flat out impossible.

Maybe the Bush administration will succeed in keeping these facts from mothers. But I think they hear "no car" and "one day to evacuate" and they'll know the score. And they will have very little time for any politican who claims that no one could have expected people would stay. Becuase she'll know he's lying.

UPDATE: Welcome, all of youse visiting from Crooked Timber. Please check out the rest of the site (here, here, here and here are some of my favorite posts).

And do forgive the failure to update since 9/05. I was in a delayed-onset coma, brought on by eating too much paste in childhood. But I've awakened, cleared the coma-crud out of my eyes, and will soon be setting the blogosphere on fire with posts! Do enjoy.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:38 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:47 PM

 
Blogger Pete Bogs said...

I love this article because it's a real-life story that gets to the heart of a basic issue: the GOP doesn't care about people outside their own well-insulated, well-to-do clique... my girlfriend's sister is a single mom and career waitress, who has a daughter who's 19, and is a single mom with a one-year-old boy... they're blue collar, they're poorly paid, they're single moms, and in 2004 they voted for Bush!!! the 19-year-old's father said it best when he learned of their voting choice: "That was stupid."

5:25 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is an effort to politicize the New Orleans disaster past what it really was; A natural disaster. Was tragedy caused by the failure of FEMA to provide aid in a timely fashion? Was it caused by the delayed entry of the military’s emergency response due to the states governor refusal to transfer control of the National Guard? Was it caused by a bad and unimplemented city emergency plan? Was it caused by a citizenry that responded poorly to an emergency situation? It was really caused by a city that flooded because it was built several feet below two large bodies of water. Bad things happen and reliance on the government for all solutions is a short trip to disappointment.

4:18 PM

 
Anonymous brayker said...

er, anon: Yes, actually, exactly. It was a natural disaster, but it turned into a tragedy when exactly those items listed came into play.

Good post, but really I'm just here to point out that I am /not/ infact a repub apologist (as accused in the Think Progress thread about Delay living like an average fellow) and was in fact pointing out that TP had balanced the books by listing Reid even though his involvement was (apparently at least) pretty trivial.

Nice blog though.

6:47 PM

 

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