After Katrina: Compassion, politics

September 15, 2005

Miami Herald- Marifeli Perez-Stable

Medical teams, relief workers, soldiers, engineers, water-treatment equipment, mobile kitchens, flood and sanitation experts, 120,000 pounds of bananas, two tons of powdered milk, one million barrels of gasoline, 50 tons of canned food, cash donations: Latin America has been second to none in supporting Katrina's victims. Heartfelt compassion at the sights and sounds of the tragedy is, of course, driving the generosity of foreigners and Americans alike.

Inevitably, though, politics enters the picture. President Bush's take-charge, impassioned response to 9/11 contrasts starkly with his stumbling detachment after Katrina. Four years ago, the horrific attacks -- which we will never forget -- gave the Republican Party the opportunity to bask in the light of national security. Today, the forlorn faces of the most vulnerable among us -- which we better remember always -- could reap benefits for the Democratic Party.

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