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The Gross National Debt

Monday, January 16, 2006

(Cross-posted at Daily Kos and My Left Wing)

Growing up, I remember how my mother talked about the assassination of JFK.  The moment that she heard of his death is forever seared in her memory - what she wearing - where she was when she heard - what she was doing.  Time stands still for her around that event.  It is a defining event of her life.

I made it all the way to 2001 without a defining event like that.  Then 9/11 happened.  Being a DC resident, I saw the Pentagon first-hand within seven minutes of the impact.  First the confusion and then the fear were palpable.  I'll remember the events of that morning, where I was, where I was going, what I was wearing, for the rest of my life.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I have a second defining event in my life, one that I share with many of you.  Hurricane Katrina.

Make the jump.

The realization of the unfolding tragedy in New Orleans in particular will stay with me as long as I have the use of my mind and I walk this earth.  I can take you through the first realization, who was reporting on it on the news, what it sounded like, and then follow it with a series of other moments in the coverage that stand out in stark relief because of their clarity and the indelible effect of my reaction.

As time has passed, as with all events (defining or not), coverage of Katrina has slipped to occasional mentions.  I suppose it's natural.  But it hasn't slipped for me.  As I write this, I can see a framed, whimsical plaque that I bought from a vendor in the French Market - I need only to turn my head to see it in its place, where it's been for seven years or more.  If I turn to the left, I can see the Mardis Gras masks and beads I've acquired through the years at various celebrations.  Directly in front of me is a little voo doo doll I bought at some kitschy store on Royal.  I don't live in New Orleans and never have - but it's a part of me and always has been.  It's just a place to which my soul connected.

I found something the other day completely by accident.  I can't even tell you where I found it originally because I was just surfing around, checking out the blogs of people who had visited my blog.  One of the blogs I stumbled across had a video on it - if the owner of that blog is a Kossack, my apologies for not having it together enough to give you proper credit.  I clicked through to the site (YouTube.com) where the video could be found.  It completely commanded my attention.

It's a video set to music called George Bush Don't Like Black People.  It's set to hip-hop music (I'm not a fan of hip-hop and rap, but I thought it was totally effective) and it integrates a variety of video clips, both from the Katrina debacle and other George W. Bush events.  It's totally powerful and I wanted to pass it along.  I also thought it had the potential to be morphed into some kind of a political advertisement (minus all the cursing, of course).  You'll have to let me know what you think.

It appears I'm not the only one who can't forget Katrina, its victims, and the total failure on the part of our government to care for our fellow Americans.

I'd like to put a little plug in for The Louisiana Music Factory's Katrina benefit album, Our New Orleans  Randy Newman, backed by an orchestra, does a gripping version of Louisiana 1927.  It makes me cry every time I hear it.

posted by RenaRF at 4:33 PM 7 comments links to this post


Blogger varro said...

People of my era (I was born in 1970) have three defining disasters: the Challenger explosion, 9-11, and Katrina.

(Somehow, the re-entry of Columbia doesn't figure into it, and neither does Hurricane Andrew, even though I had to evacuate out of Miami for Andrew. We were without power for a week to 10 days, but otherwise didn't suffer much because of that hurricane...)

4:52 PM  
Blogger Miz BoheMia said...

I think the defining moments depend on one's geographic location and life experiences and sensitivities...

For me, two...

9/11 without a doubt... it robbed me of any innocence I may have had... EVER...

I was in Dubai, of all places, with my daughter who then 10 months old. I woke up from my nap, walked into the adjacent rooms where my husband was with my in-laws and saw them glued to the TV. I looked over, saw the image of the twin towers and read America under attack and thought I was still sleeping. It took me a long time, a very long time to believe it was really happening... after that, I was too shocked to even cry... and I am a crier... the tears did come eventually but these wounds will never heal... and I don't want them to.

The second one was the massacre of mostly children in Beslan. As a mother of two, I cried when they initially reported one child dead, before news of the real tragedy leaked out. One child was one too many to die such a death... and then....

I just don't know what else to say....

3:34 PM  
Blogger Noah Bawdy said...

So it was all Bush's fault.
So the utter incompetence of Nagin and Blanco gets a complete pass from you ?
Did you fail to notice that the surrounding states coped with the storm much better even though they were hit harder ?


Of course not.

That would go against your world view.

You liberals never let the facts get in the way of a good heartache.

11:33 PM  
Blogger Noah Bawdy said...

Comparing the acts of men (Kennedy's assassination, 9/11) to acts of nature is apples and oranges. Think people, stop following your liberal dogma.

11:36 PM  
Blogger Liberal Traitor said...

9/11 was a defining moment for me. I was also in DC, working 2 blocks away from the White House at 16th & K. Early on in the day, we heard a plane hit one of the towers, but thought it was just a crazy accident. Then the second plane hit. Then we heard that a bomb went off in the Pentagon. Then we started hearing all sorts of crazy things, like car bombs in front of the state department and the entire national mall being on fire. The following weeks were a scary time to be in the District, and the political climate was even scarier. The way this attack was used for Bush to paint the world in such juvenile strokes of black and white was equally as disconcerting as the way the republicans followed the PNAC playbook and used this "Pearl Harbor type of attack" to ram through all sorts of things they never would have stood a chance getting through otherwise. 9/11 was our country's Reichstag fire.

11:48 AM  
Blogger RenaRF said...

Hey Noah. You might benefit from reading a little and learning facts (as opposed to Fox news talking points) before you open your mouth.

Let me refer you to this article, a factual account of the FAILURE of George W. Bush to deliver on the promises he made during his speech from Jackson Square after Katrina hit. You can also find facts in this editorial. State, local, Republican and Democrats are getting along on the subject of New Orleans. Only the President is inexplicably presenting the roadblocks.

It's a shame that it took the devastation of life and property wrought by Katrina to show Americans how woefully NOT up to the task this shallow President and his administration is - but at least we, out here in the public, learned something. He has learned nothing and that's not ok.

Thanks for playing - when you have factual information as opposed to mere nonsensical rants, feel free to drop by again.

1:32 PM  
Blogger RenaRF said...

Hi Liberal - wasn't that day something else? I do a lot of work with the Federal government and the rumors were rampant. My stepson, at that time, went to school at Langley High School in McLean, less than a mile from CIA headquarters. They were in turmoil as well. My parents and husband were freaking out trying to ascertain that I was ok. With patience and a great deal of uncharacteristic caring from fellow motorists, I got out of the city and back to No. VA and got in touch with everyone who was concerned.

I'm still down there all the time - I take the Metro when I have early DC meetings - and I'm always observant and nervous. After Katrina, I don't feel any safer - much less so, in fact. I won't let it stop my daily life, but there is a substrata of unease that runs through me living so close to a primary target. I think most of us Washingtonians feel the same.

1:37 PM  

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