Published on Tuesday, September 6, 2005 by CommonDreams
by Bill C. Davis
On the Television screen appears - "President expected to speak shortly." I see that and I think of a lyric from the Leonard Cohen song, Everybody Knows. "....Everybody knows the Captain lied - Everybody's got that broken feeling - like their father or their dog just died..." That's the feeling coming out of the Gulf region of America and permeating the rest of the country.
The racism inherent in the epic event in the US Gulf Region is being battled quickly.
Dubya is flying around with Bishop Jakes - photo ops with Bush glad-handing every vetted African-American that the lead team can find are being distributed faster than bottled water. But everybody knows.
The new charity initiative is called "Bush/Clinton Katrina" - Clinton says critical questions need to be asked later. He told Bush Sr. that he was watching his back as the press asked pressing questions. Bush Sr. says criticism of his son will invite the wrath of his wife. Clinton reminded the press in an almost hushed voice that "We're still finding bodies there." This was meant to trump and silence criticism out of respect for the dead. But everybody knows.
General Honore pistol whipped and tongue lashed whatever reporter had the temerity to ask a question about the activities of rescue helicopters. He twisted the question to give himself an opportunity to defend his "men" when in fact no one was attacking them.
I read somewhere that real news is what they hide from us - everything else is advertising. The advertising campaign is on - real news slipped out for a few days and even the journalists who usually do most of the advertising, were stunned and emotional. They will be put back in place soon by the bombast of General Honore and the earnest level-headed drama of Clinton and the threat of Bush the Matriarch. But what the journalists saw in New Orleans was not just grisly images - they saw the barbaric consequences of the policy drift of America - a drift they must wonder if they had a hand in creating.
President Bush is now his own walking Potemkin Village, which is defined as "a pretentiously showy or imposing façade intended to mask or divert attention from an embarrassing or shabby fact or condition."
But everybody knows the facts here are more criminal than shabby. Many questions need to be asked now. The dry-ice theatrical fog is moving in and the clarity of what was exposed will be hidden and forgotten. The questions asked later will become the questions that will be dubbed as questions, "not worth asking now. Look at everything we've accomplished in impossible circumstances."
The reality is that 20 million dollars from Wal-Mart and one million dollars from Celine Dion and Nicolas Cage is charity. Government for the people means government for the people. Allocation of the U.S, treasury determined by vision and caring is the long range pre-emptive action that will avoid the trauma that creates the national post traumatic stress disorder we're all experiencing.
The cry "We need help" began as "please be smart - please be fair." Political action by the population must re-write those phrases and make them sharper - "be smart - be fair - be government for the people - let's have government policy instead of adrenaline drama."
The president standing with Bishop Jakes doesn't do it - Clinton being Sundance to George Sr.'s Butch Cassidy doesn't do it - General Honore being the attack dog for Chertoff and Brown is just further embarrassment. It may be the shifty-eyed John Wayne action figure is the look of the next phase of the occupation; another folksy take-charge guy who will not suffer fools - fools being anyone who asks a question he doesn't like. We don't know who will be killed or who will be allowed to die or who will be forced to go where they don't want to go. Someone might find the courage to ask those questions but they are questions that should be asked now.
We'll see soldiers holding babies - we'll see Bush hugging evacuees and signing autographs - we'll hear Laura encourage student enrollment - we'll see reunions and slow motion tapestries with gooey underscoring - we'll see cardboard checks being handed to agencies by potential 2008 presidential candidates - we'll hear Bush pray with the people - but everybody knows.