Monday, September 05, 2005

Thurs, Sept 1 - 8:50 - Political elite joins ranks

For those of you who still believe we have a two-party system, think about former President Bill Clinton today defending the current president's response in New Orleans. Then listen to Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu on CNN thanking President Bush and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist for their leadership in this crisis.

For one crazy moment, I had visions of Bill Clinton ripping the microphone out of Bush Junior's hand and shouting to the world, "Be afraid, be very afraid. You elected this guy because you thought he'd keep you safe. I'd say the joke's on you but the situation is too sad and desperate for that."

Only in my dreams would a Democrat act like someone from the opposition party. Bill Clinton's current job is to get Hillary elected, so they are both running to the right as fast as they can to pick up votes from those so-called Reagan Democrats.

Meanwhile, on CNN, reporters stretched to the limit by what they are seeing periodically break into tears. Patrician Anderson Cooper (son of Gloria Vanderbilt Cooper) has clearly become radicalized. He began asking Landrieu why politicians are so busy thanking each other while babies in New Orleans are dying from dehydration. But little Mary never stopped her relentless spinning, hoping to turn disaster into votes for her the next time by talking about what a great people we are.

One of the high points of the day for me came when conservative commentator Jack Cafferty vented his outrage. Like Nixon going to China, it takes a conservative like Cafferty to certify that Bush's focus on law and order today when the priority should be saving lives is an outrage. As Cafferty said, the elephant in the room is that the majority of the people suffering and dying in New Orleans are poor and black.

The title of Public Enemy's old album Fear of a Black Planet kept running through my head when I heard on MSNBC that there were 80 busses sitting outside of New Orleans refusing to come in until "order was restored." The videographer who had been talking to desperate families said that they pleaded with the drivers that these were good people, people who had followed the rules and went where people told them to go to get help, only to be left stranded. But the drivers refused to budge.

They say the first step to recovery is to confront denial. Is this finally the turning point where average citizens in this country begin to understand that we have problems with racism and inequality? And that no leader in either party seems willing to speak out?

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