Monday, September 12, 2005

Four years later

I had a conversation tonight with a friend about the comparison between 9/11 and Katrina. He pointed out how Katrina has overshadowed significant rememberances for the victims of the terrorist attacks of 9/11. I agreed with him that sometimes the freshest blood can be seen the best on media coverage, but doesn't, sometimes, holding up a flag stained with blood and tears become tiresome and cliche rather than a poignant statement? And, in many ways, Americans have become much more jaded as a country. Even George W.'s approval ratings have plummeted over the last two weeks.

What, he pointed out, should George W. have done to have "done more" in the south?

For me, this was W.'s one last-ditch opportunity to prove something positive about his pathetic two-term presidency. Here, he could have changed things--shown what a great addition the "Homeland Security" department was, used that second article power of his as president (not to mention those uninhibited powers granted to him following 9/11 by Congress). But instead, we sat horrified in front of our television sets for a week as bodies floated in water, as snipers shot at patients as they were evacuated from hurriance-torn hospitals, as family members turned to CNN and MSNBC and (even) FoxNews for help finding their loved ones and for information on where to go and what to do--information the government wasn't giving them.

W.'s presidency has been flanked by two disasters--9/11 and Katrina--completely different in nature, but telling of so much that has changed in the last four years. Not only do we recognize the date today and remember and mourn, but we also recognize that the world we live in today is different than that of early September of 2001. In the world we live in, planes flown into buildings and terrorist attacks are possibilities and--because of 9/11, London and several other attacks--realities.

In some ways, Katrina is not fresher blood for the media to scrounge from. Instead, it seems Katrina's flood waters washed away the contrived political jargon of neo-conservatism where patriotism and hostility are nearly one and the same. When the waters recede, somewhere in the wreckage, the ineffectiveness and ineptitude of this presidency will be left behind. And America will be reminded of how much we were promised after 9/11—-and how little we were delivered.

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