Apathetic – what better word is there to describe both President Joe Biden and his administration when American citizens need them? After a brief vacation-interruptus for the first couple to visit one of Hawaii’s worst disasters in modern times, FEMA is left at swanky 5-star hotels – Fairmont Kea Lani, Four Seasons, and the Grand Wailea Astoria – to coordinate relief efforts for the now homeless, search for the missing, and identify remains.
But that isn’t how FEMA folks are actually doing their 40-hour a week with full benefits jobs. Instead, employees are inside for mandatory diversity training. Specifically, the focus is on white supremacy and sensitivity training to help all shades, from beige to black, find their way back to normal.
Hawaiians are angry, and local media is happy to capture taxpayer-funded employees at the tiki bar after a long day of being told that white people are bad. How exhausting.
Apathy Without Blinking an Eye
In full display, the president and first lady interrupted their vacation in billionaire Tom Steyer’s mansion in Lake Tahoe to spend a couple of hours on the fire-ravaged island for a photo-op. In exactly the tone-deaf manner we’ve become accustomed to, Biden boasted about the $700 handouts he approved for island residents – just days after sending another $250 million in aid to Ukraine. Whatever supporters he didn’t lose with that, he may well have alienated by trying to relate to the survivors.
“Years ago, now 15 years, I was in Washington doing ‘Meet the Press,’” he said. “Lightning struck at home on a little lake outside the home. Not a lake, a big pond. It hit the wire and came up underneath our home, into the air condition ducts.” Yes, Biden tried to relate to survivors of the devastating fire by talking about that time it took first responders about 20 minutes to contain a fire in his house. But he felt their pain when he added, “To make a long story short, I almost lost my wife, my ‘67 Corvette, and my cat.”
The emergency agency the president left behind didn’t do much better. FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell spoke with a news outlet favorable to the Biden Bunch. When asked about the inability to locate the missing, she, with near indifference, responded: “There’s a lot of different reasons on why people are unaccounted for. It could be that they are staying with family and friends.” So why not have a rum punch and a bit of white people trashing? The callousness of Criswell’s response did not go over well, and those affected are wondering if FEMA is trained in anything remotely helpful to disaster survivors. A local man who is a government employee told Daily Mail the luxurious accommodations are “selfish.” That employee, Kaleo, went further, asking, “Shouldn’t they stay closer to the site instead of staying across on the other side of the island?”
FEMA as Tone Deaf as Biden
FEMA is well known for the mishandling of disasters: Katrina will forever be a stain on the George W. Bush administration and the agency tasked to help. The Disastrous.org site lists the following reasons that should’ve been on the “what to do in an emergency” checklist:
“1) Long-term warnings went unheeded, and government officials neglected their duties to prepare for a forewarned catastrophe; 2) government officials took insufficient actions or made poor decisions in the days immediately before and after landfall; 3) systems on which officials relied to support their response efforts failed, and 4) government officials at all levels failed to provide effective leadership.”
Sound familiar? The government agency President Jimmy Carter created has a history of not having much of a clue. Moreover, it appears that FEMA employees, top-down, collect their taxpayer paychecks and keep collective fingers crossed that Mother Nature behaves herself. Do they train for this job between classes on colonialism and white supremacy? When the tornado hits, the hurricane devastates, and fires engulf paradise, does it matter that those on the ground have a history lesson on the evils of the patriotism that created this country? What matters is that a response team, trained in emergencies, is there and prepared and willing to help. No one cares about the color of your skin when disasters strike.
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