Do populist conservatives care about their fellow countrymen? If so, you would think that they would oppose discrimination against their fellow countrymen and thus welcome a memo by the Department of Justice with the intent of decreasing discrimination in the response to the flooding in Louisiana.
Shockingly, that is not how populist conservatives reacted at all. “President Mob Boss sends message to flood-hit Louisiana,” Liberty Unyielding blared. “Obama Just Sent An Offensive Memo To Louisiana Flood Victims,” The Federalist Papers.org shouted. “Obama irks La. flood victims with memo warning them not to discriminate,” the conservative Washington Times reported.
Offensive. Right, because populist conservatives are so politically correct that they would never want to “offend” anyone.
Rod Dreher, an author for The American Conservative, pretty well summarizes the reactionary mindset (in his own mindset) behind the people who are offended by anti-discrimination messages. Offended by a simple piece of guidance about federal law and best practices in disaster response. He accuses the so-called “elites” of being “out-of-touch” with “average Americans” (quote marks and choice of wording is mine — those phrases can’t exist without quote marks).
What he wrote directly was:
It’s like, Is that really what you think of us? That we’re just a bunch of rednecks dying to discriminate?
It’s like: The people of your Louisiana are not our countrymen, they’re aliens whose bizarre emotions we must attempt occasionally to anticipate and manage.
And yet, according to the memo the Department of Justice sent, there were documented instances of discrimination in the disaster response to Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita.
In one case:
A federal court found evidence of intentional discrimination in actions by St. Bernard Parish, which neighbors New Orleans, when the parish sought to restrict rental housing opportunities, including actions to halt the development of rental housing and enacting a permit requirement for single-family rentals that exempted renters who were “related by blood” to the homeowners. Additionally, the parish changed zoning rules to reduce the availability of rental housing, which was widely perceived in the parish as being planned to house African Americans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Because of these actions, the parish faced a HUD initiated investigation, a DOJ lawsuit, and several private lawsuits alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act and it ultimately paid more than $5 million in damages and attorneys’ fees to settle the cases.
I throw the question back at Dreher, since he raised it, Are the people of your Louisiana your countrymen? Do you feel black Louisianans should have had access to housing rentals in St. Bernard Parish?