Foul Bush

I’m a firm believer in remembering certain events – events possessing unprecedented magnitude, implications, historic value or perspective altering ramifications. Pondering collective memories in my lifetime, I find it difficult to capsulize “events” without evoking the personal anguish of news coverage the morning 9/11 unfolded or the absurdity of Hurricane Katrina.

9/11 played out on a Tuesday morning – rather than the kids breakfast before school, or dressing for work, our family sat together in a state of collective paralysis, struggling to comprehend the enormity of witness. 9/11 meant fundamental changes to the world we knew, our lives would never be the same. 9/11 was pivotal in my lifetime, a moment etched in the annuls of profound historical shake-ups. 9/11 will never languish in dusty corners of memory, it can’t be forgotten.

Hurricane Katrina on the other hand teeters on the precipice of obscurity. For all the horror and emotion of 9/11, Katrina is the one responsible for painting a public face on the underbelly of America. To this day no amount of pondering can make sense of the absurdity.

Enter the George W. Bush Museum and Library in Dallas, Texas. Since May of 2013 scores  have crossed the threshold,  falling down a rabbit hole into a revisionist parallel universe ruled by the hubris of George W. Bush. Visitors are presented with interactive installations offering “choices” of action in the face of adversity. “what would you do as  Bush” games give 3 response scenarios post Katrina, all aimed at how to “restore order”. Would you rely on local forces, send troops without police powers or use the Insurrection Act? Don’t hold your breath in expectation of  implementing humanitarian aid or evacuation – put yourself in the shoes of a inept imbecile overwhelmed by the burden of “restoring order”.  No mention of nincompoops at FEMA, no hint of abysmal failure to respond, not a whiff of anything but contempt for hordes of desperate citizens.

To this day,alarming numbers of white Americans scratch their asses while clucking over the mentality of poor urban blacks. Viewed as morally vacant, assumed to be lawless looters responsible for the rift in polite acceptance of the status quo. The George W. Bush Museum epitomizes the ignorant assumption of disorder once the Negroes get “uppity”.

Take a moment to watch this video from the Rachel Maddow show. America needs to remember Hurricane Katrina, it’s every bit if not more important than 9/11.

Bad History

Would it surprise anyone to learn that Hurricane Katrina ranks second in a survey by Sony as the most watched moments in TV history. Nestled between #1 – 9/11 terror attach and third place verdict for O.J. Simpson, Katrina made history for all the wrong reasons. Katrina falls to 15th place on the list of the top 20 worst moments in American history, but then it has strong competition from assassinations, massacres, and atomic bombs.,20-Most-Infamous-Moments-in-U.S.-History

Katrina was just another hurricane before the levees broke. What happened next was so astounding, so unbelievable, Hollywood couldn’t have scripted a more fantastic tale. I’ll never forget calling my husband at work when news broke that thousands of survivors were trapped at the Convention Centre.  Katrina played out like a bad disaster movie; on what planet would it not have occurred to anyone that the Convention Centre was packed with desperate people. As FEMA struggled to decide which was their left or right hand, Canadian search and rescue teams were among the first responders. Utterly bizarre. Hours became days, tempers flared, fingers were pointed, and still thousands suffered or perished. Without question the biggest screw up in American history.

Globally the worst moments in history make a little more sense than the Katrina fiasco. According to listverse the top ten come with religious book ends. Number 10 being Catholic sexual abuse, and number 1 the Crusades. In between are two world wars, famines, genocides, 9/11, and the plague. Far from thinking any of these moments actually make sense, black death aside, these moments were the result of conscious decisions or planning.

We could ponder and debate bad history for hours, the world has no shortage of horrific moments to crowd top ten lists. In fact anyone who can narrow it down to ten is doing a lot better than I ever could. Instead I’m pondering a slightly different bad history; a history that could have been spared the lists had it been taken seriously.

Some Foxy News

I used to tune into Fox News every once and a while when I needed a laugh. As time passed it wasn’t funny any more. Somewhere around Hurricane Katrina I was able to snap out of it. Not certain whether Greta Van Susteren’s holier than thou attitude , Geraldo Rivera’s grandstanding, or Glenn Beck reporting that ” the only Katrina victims shown on television were the scumbags”, were responsible for my decision to never again stoop to that level. All I know is by the time officials remembered thousands of people stranded inside the convention centre – Fox News had made me so angry I wanted to scream.

It’s difficult to pin-point when news media took on an agenda. I come from an era when the six o’clock news covered stories of the day. Reporters investigated, researched, and sought the truth. I’m aware enough to realize it wasn’t all roses, yet  had considerable faith in words printed in the newspaper and reports on television. It would have been unthinkable to tune into a particular station based on political or religious beliefs. The news didn’t work that way – at least it never used to.

Today we listen to what we want to hear, and because it’s “news” take it as the truth. I’ve heard of CNN being referred to as  “communist news network”, and in the same breath a declaration that Obama is a Muslim. The Bill O’Reilly’s and Glenn Becks of this world become superstars – their editorial opinion taken as truth. Today’s news preaches to the choir; a captive audience feeding on the egos of puffed up front-men, all for the sake of the bottom line – advertising dollars.

News stations have become irresponsible, biased, and quite frankly – dangerous. Scratch the surface and find cartoon characters spewing nonsense – they know who’s listening, and what they want to hear. Ponder the realization that their words are taken as gospel. Fox News being the worst of the bunch, as this clip from the Daily Show aptly points out.

Might I suggest to anybody feeling the urge to repeat “news” taken from Fox….