A Hard Lesson
Guest Perspective: Roy Morrison
On Tuesday, last week, my son Sam started the seventh-grade in middle school. My friend Luanne's son left on a plane for duty in Iraq. And it became clear that the storm that had "missed" New Orleans did nothing of the kind.
The worst offense in this week that shamed America was not just the Bush administration's manifest failures. What cuts deepest was their refusal to call for help from the American people when clearly the job of saving the afflicted in New Orleans and other storm-ravaged towns was beyond them.
It was only on the Sunday before Labor Day that we heard that the NAACP had mobilized black churches, that Moveon.org had recruited thousands to open their homes, that ambulances and aid had started to stream south from all over the country. Nearby, in Claremont, residents are collecting food and clothing for Mississippi. The trickle of help is now becoming a grassroots torrent.
The lesson of the week is not just that the Bush gang is incompetent and callous, a bunch of well-connected lightweights that have disgraced our nation. Almost everyone in the world has seen that. The really hard lesson we need to learn is that they have once again stopped the American people from taking effective action in time of greatest peril and greatest need.
After Sept. 11, when real discussion was underway about the meaning of the attacks, about what America should do and be in the world, when commercials disappeared from the televisions for two weeks, our fearless leader advised Americans not to volunteer, not to sign up and come to the aid of our country. Oh no, George W. Bush told us to go shopping, go to work, and take those airline vacation trips.
The newly anointed War against Terror, soon to become (although we didn't know it yet) an invasion of Iraq, was to be left to the professionals - the source of all wisdom and intelligence - who would keep us safe. Sure they have. Osama bin Laden must be laughing at us once again in his burrow watching CNN.
I'd like to think that on Wednesday, when the scope of the disaster became apparent, our government would have called able bodied men and women with some relevant skills to go to New Orleans, and that some of my neighbors, even me, would have responded.
On Newmarket Road in Warner, for example, there is Doug the logger, mechanic and heavy equipment operator; Peter, a Master Diver Trainer, EMT, and firefighter; Alan, a professional blaster and artist ... with a backhoe. I ride around with a sea kayak on top of my car. Lena, who's back in Warner, did in-home child care for my son Sam. She lived for some time in New Orleans, working at building Mardi Gras floats for crews. She could have provided guidance.
But we'll never know if we would have responded to the challenge. Instead of telling tales of help being on the way, the Bush crew could have called upon the American people for assistance. Beyond just sending dollars, lots of us would have gone because our neighbors were going.
But that would be a different America, a self-reliant and confident democracy. Instead, we are sacred and forlorn; disgusted with our government and with what our country has permitted and with what we are becoming.
It's time to take back America from this gang for all our sakes. And it's time for us to say to those who suffered unnecessarily in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, not just that we are sorry, but, to the extent we are able, how can we help?
Roy Morrison is an energy consultant and writer in Warner. His latest book, "Eco Civilization 2140: A 22nd Century History and Survivor's Journa," is forthcoming.
I haven't been on top of this CBGBs story because I don't keep track of a lot going on in NYC. But one of my old haunts is fighting its life and has now been served its eviction notice: ["CBGBs Served With Eviction Notice"]. What is really intriguing about this is the Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, both Republicans, are with the punks, new wavers, and indie rockers, in trying to save the institution against developers. Wow.
Bush approval sliding ... but Kerry still wouldn't win
This latest Zogby International poll is downright scary: ["Bush Job Approval Hits 41%—All Time Low"]. And, it isn't just scary because he is below 50 percent and falling. It is scary because the pathetic soulless yuppie John Kerry still wouldn't be able to beat Bush if the election were re-held today! That is shocking.
Sidebar: This is a hilarious post on Daily Kos from Monday about what would have happened to Kerry on talk radio had he been elected: ["Transcript: Rush Limbaugh Tears Pres. Kerry a New One"].
This is so upsetting: ["AP: 300 Ga. Businesses Got 9/11 Loans"]. We were all affected by the Sept. 11 attacks. We all lost friends, and friends of friends. We all took benefit cuts or worked years without raises because business was bad. Sure, some of us more than others were harmed. But what are developers and day care centers getting these loans but folk in NYC aren't? What kind of insanity is that?
This is also upsetting: ["I just got back from a FEMA Detainment Camp"]. Very strange stuff here and I don't know how legit it is. But, I have always been fascinated by the conspiracy theories that have been attached to FEMA. I remember in the early 1990s that some of the shortwave radio hosts and others on small networks were talking about "concentration camps" that were building built around the country and trains would bring people to these camps and no one knew about them or why they were being built. It was all pooh-poohed of course; mostly because the folks who were talking about it weren't considered credible at the time by everyone in the media, whatever that means. But this is really interesting because it looks like an actual detainment camp and we now the both rail and buses are being used to move people out of New Orleans. Very strange. Very strange indeed.
This would be upsetting ... if it weren't so pathetic: ["Rod Stewart Ordered to Pay for Vegas Show"]. Gee, you get paid $2 mil ... you don't show up ... you keep the money ... and, why are we having this conversation again? Pay up Rod, you friggin' dead beat.
This should be upsetting: ["Poor, Black, and Left Behind"]. If you read this too quickly, you would never believe that it was written more than a year before Katrina.