The decision by Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and John McCain to skip last night's African American voter forum really underscores the GOP's pre-Katrina mentality, don't you think?
For a lot of Americans, and especially Americans of color, the world changed (or, actually, the problems of the world rose in stark relief against the stories we tell ourselves about America) in those September days in 2005, but the GOP appears locked in a pre-Katrina complacency when it comes to black voters.
Maybe they recognize that peddling a line about safety from brown people makes it difficult for brown people to vote for them, and they're unable to reconcile the preventable loss of a major American city and the wayward approach to rebuilding with their desire to scare the bejesus out of everybody in order to win votes.
But here's a fact: for a lot of Americans, safety from terrorism isn't the first type of safety we're concerned with. In a lot of communities, safety from crime is a much higher priority. In a lot of families, safety from our criminal justice system, the most punitive in the world, keeps parents awake at night when their kids go out with friends.
If Katrina showed the GOP nothing, maybe they could turn on their televisions and ponder the current situation with the Jena 6. If that tells them nothing, maybe they could open their newspapers.
But unfortunately, the pre-Katrina mentality in the GOP looks like it's here to stay.
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