Monday, May 24, 2010

Obama snub of Nashville flood victims is shameful

The month of May began with a nearly unprecedented flood in Nashville that resulted in approximately 20 deaths and $2 billion in damage. In my book, that is a catastrophe. Take it from somebody who lives an hour from the city and works there. Some people have suffered deeply.

In the aftermath of this, I have been wondering more and more where President Barack Obama has been in all this. True, federal financial relief has been approved for those impacted, and some administration officials have visited the city.

Still, I am amazed that the president apparently feels that this disaster does not deserve a brief visit to the city. In late April, he attended a memorial service for 29 West Virginia miners who were killed while working. I am glad he did that because it was appropriate. Still, the Nashville disaster has resulted in almost as many deaths and considerably more damage.

My cynical side tells me this is all about politics. Tennessee is a solidly 'red' state that voted for Republican John McCain in the 2008 presidential election. West Virginia is a Democratic stronghold.

So, has the president avoided coming to Nashville because he views it as politically unfriendly? Does he believe Tennessee is a lost cause heading into his 2012 re-election campaign making it a small priority to him?

I hope the answer to both questions is 'no.' However, I fear the answer is 'yes.'

Truth and cynicism are often the same.

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