Rita Evacuation Exposes Class Divide

The evacuation away from the Texas coast has again laid bare the class divisions in America. Here’s how the exodus looked for people of different income levels —

The Rich:

Meanwhile, the governor said that among the 1.3 million evacuees are his parents — Houston resident and former President George H. W. Bush and his wife, Barbara Bush.

They’re in Washington,” Gov. Bush said. “Their house (in Houston) is all boarded up.”

The Middle Class:

The storm’s march toward land sent hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the nation’s fourth-largest city in a frustratingly slow, bumper-to-bumper exodus.

“This is the worst planning I’ve ever seen,” said Judie Anderson, who covered just 45 miles in 12 hours after setting out from her home in the Houston suburb of LaPorte. “They say we’ve learned a lot from Hurricane Katrina. Well, you couldn’t prove it by me.”

The Poor:

Houston’s public housing officials were on hurricane alert Wednesday as Rita barreled toward the Texas coast, while transplanted New Orleans officials began leaving their temporary quarters in Houston.

Local officials said public housing residents are not being evacuated.

The rich are safe and sound, the middle class is struggling, and the poor are left behind. It’s the story of the Bush presidency.