During the past few weeks I’ve spent so much time focusing on my band projects and my family's needs, (back-to-school for my daughters, job interviews for my husband) that I've largely ignored what's been going on in the news. My attention was grabbed by the recent, devastating hurricane and the horrifying aftermath. I was so upset by what I saw as the grossly inadequate response by the federal government to this major disaster that I felt compelled to act.
There's no question in my mind that the way President Bush reacted (or didn't react, until after the bad press started to take its toll on his public approval rating) is a direct reflection of his administration's complete disregard for the disenfranchised Americans: people of color, the poor...and add women to that list.
It took several days for the President to marshal the resources so desperately needed to save lives in Louisiana and Mississippi, but it took him only a few hours to nominate the conservative John Roberts to succeed William Rehnquist as the Chief Justice of the U.S. Again, Bush's actions are a direct reflection of his priorities: he is determined to overturn Roe v. Wade before the end of his term.
Why is it murder when a woman decides to terminate an unwanted pregnancy? And if the President knowingly refuses to spend the money on upgrading the New Orleans levees - which all reports indicated would be necessary to save lives in the event of a category 4 hurricane - and thousands of people die as a result, is that not murder?
The latest outrage: this morning, CNN reported that Kellogg, Brown and Root (a subsidiary of Halliburton) has been awarded the contract to rebuild the military facilities in the hurricane devastated areas. Again, no time is wasted where corporate greed and religious ideology are involved. But when it comes to saving the lives of what are largely poor, black Americans, I have to agree with Kanye West who had the guts to say on live t.v. what so many of us feel in our hearts: "President Bush doesn't care about black people."
It's so easy to get distracted by what's going on in our everyday lives, by our own worries and concerns, that we lose sight of the big picture, and that's what the powers that be count on. While we are all focused on the hurricane rescue efforts, the Senate Republicans and the Bush administration are seizing the opportunity to push through a massive break for the wealthiest, the repeal of the estate tax. While CNN runs tributes to the late Justice Rehnquist, no one is paying attention to the larger implications of a President who openly opposes a woman's right to choose stacking the Supreme Court with his appointees. While Fox News runs human interest stories about daring rescues in New Orleans, the Pentagon awards another multi-billion dollar contract to Dick Cheney's cronies. It's important to stay informed and the mass media often delivers kernels of truth within larger stories, but mass media more often serves to distract us rather than keep us informed. It's also natural to want to shut down when we're seeing unpleasant images or facing difficult choices. It's so much easier to focus on my daily life and let others worry about the big picture.
I've always believed that truth is compelling. The question is, how much more do we need to see before we decide to act? Let's get that greedy, murderous S.O.B. out of office now! Let's hope there's still someone down in New Orleans who can speed his retirement.