The satirists are at work already. The court jesters tell truth to King George.
Even while I seek out my most reliable remedy – humor usually puts my sadness and anger in a different, more manageable, context – it is clear that it won’t work this time. I believe that when people lose their sense of humor they have also lost their sense of perspective and their humanity – they are the fanatics, the terrorists, the hard cruel ones. But this time I find myself too angry and too heartbroken and too ashamed for this country to be able to recontextualize at all. There is no other frame. Torture, loss of civil rights, the invasion of Iraq, greed, acquisition of the electoral process – and so on and so on – all these were slo-mo catastrophes. Willingly blinded people did not believe what they did not want to believe. This time, it’s in your face. Watch reporters shout back, rant and rail, even cry – see those photos, hear what people there are saying, and then try to tell me about “compassionate conservatives.” Wake UP.
What I noticed today was that the word “FINALLY” appeared at the top of the front page for most newspapers in the country. FINALLY help arriving. Finally.
Colbert King at the Washington Post has an article called “A Time for Action, Not Outrage.” Well, I think it’s time for both action and outrage, although plain old rage is working just fine for me. Why did Bush want a high flyover and a couple of contrived photo ops? Is he still more concerned about oil interests in the area than he is about the people there?
These are real quotations.
"I don’t think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." –President Bush, on "Good Morning America," Sept. 1, 2005
— Oh yes they did, and the levees broke right where the repairs should have been done already. Everybody expected the breach – that’s why there was an evacuation order. The Bush administration and our representatives just didn’t think it was a priority. They should have helped people get out of there.
“I have not heard a report of thousands of people in the convention center who don’t have food and water.” Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, on NPR’s "All Things Considered," Sept. 1, 2005
— “Have not heard a report” – on Sept 1? This guy is in charge of Homeland Security. He is supposed to be the one coordinating the efforts of other agencies. They couldn’t even discover what was on the news. They couldn’t even put a couple people on the ground with bullhorns, or drop in some water. Their idea of security was to lock people in at the bridges.
“We just learned of the convention center – we being the federal government – today." –FEMA Director Michael Brown, to ABC’s Ted Koppel, Sept. 1, 2005 – to which Koppel responded " Don’t you guys watch television? Don’t you guys listen to the radio? Our reporters have been reporting on it for more than just today.
— Brown is in charge of FEMA, which used to be pretty well-prepared before Bush started making us more prepared.
"Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job." –President Bush, to FEMA director Michael Brown, while touring Hurricane-ravaged Mississippi, Sept. 2, 2005
— Guess who put “Brownie” in charge?
"You simply get chills every time you see these poor individuals…many of these people, almost all of them that we see are so poor and they are so black, and this is going to raise lots of questions for people who are watching this story unfold." –CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, on New Orleans’ hurricane refugees, Sept. 1, 2005
— So black? That’s a new one. I wonder which questions that Blitzer has in mind.
"We’ve got a lot of rebuilding to do … The good news is — and it’s hard for some to see it now — that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott’s house — he’s lost his entire house — there’s going to be a fantastic house. And I’m looking forward to sitting on the porch." (Laughter) —President Bush, touring hurricane damage, Mobile, Ala., Sept. 2, 2005
— Yeah, it’s real funny. Let’s just make sure Lott’s house is okey-dokey. Why not just let Bush walk around New Orleans and “talk to the people”? I’m sure that he would become educated right quick.
"…for the last four days, I’ve been seeing dead bodies in the streets here in Mississippi. And to listen to politicians thanking each other and complimenting each other, you know, I got to tell you, there are a lot of people here who are very upset, and very angry, and very frustrated. And when they hear politicians slap – you know, thanking one another, it just, you know, it kind of cuts them the wrong way right now, because literally there was a body on the streets of this town yesterday being eaten by rats because this woman had been laying in the street for 48 hours. And there’s not enough facilities to take her up. Do you get the anger that is out here?" Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA), to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Aug. 31, 2005
— I get it Mary, and thank you for having a spine. Please start talking to your colleagues. Perhaps some field trips are in order.