I watched Bush’s State of the Union address last night. It was the first time I’ve watched this political spectacle in years, I think. I tuned in because I knew he was going to say something about Katrina and the Gulf Coast.
I waited and waited, as he talked about Iraq and Iran and our addiction to oil. He talked for about an hour, and towards the end he made a brief passing mention about us and our situation down here.
I didn’t expect much. I didn’t expect he’d expand the federal commitment to hurricane recovery. I didn’t expect anything bold.
But I expected more than this. I hoped he’d at least reiterate some of what he’d said in his Jackson Square Speech. It would have had some symbolic value.
This tells me that we are slipping further and further from the national consciousness. This saddens and alarms me.
A co-worker said to me the other day that we may have to “wait out the Bush presidency” to get real help. But I wonder. Will Katrina become a campaign issue? That seems unlikely. I’m trying to imagine a candidate selling hurricane relief in the heartland. I’m skeptical.
But at least one local guy thinks otherwise. And he’s got a point. The way things are shaping up, Democrats might have a shot at Louisiana. I don’t know about Mississippi.
Anybody outside this region might not really understand what we’re facing. Apparently Bush doesn’t understand, and he’s the President, with a whole staff to inform him, so why should the Average Joe understand?
Another local blogger puts it well:
He said the state of our Union was strong, when a major city in the Union has entire neighborhoods unfit for living, where the residents are still only allowed to “look and leave” five months after Katrina hit and the levees failed. Power is not restored to the entire city. Gas is not restored to the entire city. Healthcare in the city is crippled. Half of the residents haven’t returned or can’t return. Almost 3000 trailers are acting as homes for residents who have returned and 17,000 more have been requested. Some streets are still blocked by houses knocked off their foundations.
Or try these numbers:
Nearly 1,100 Americans are dead and 3,600 are still missing on American soil, yet George Bush barely spoke 163 words about this out of 5300 words in his State of the Union address.
Over 200,000 homes are destroyed, yet George Bush barely spoke 163 words about this out of 5300 words in his State of the Union address.
Over 400,000 Americans are displaced, yet George Bush barely spoke 163 words about this out of 5300 words in his State of the Union address.
An entire American city is in the throws of death, yet George Bush barely spoke 163 words about this out of 5300 words in his State of the Union address.
Hmmm… This is gonna get interesting.