Sunday, August 31, 2008

waiting for gustav

I've got a personal relationship with New Orleans. I've got family there - my cousin, Ilaine Hartman, is part and parcel of Mardi Gras having designed and made over 4,000 (that's right, OVER 4 THOUSAND!!!) Mardi Gras costumes, ball gowns and assorted Krewe outfits (most of the major ones like Rex et al) over the past 30+ years. They're in her workspace/factory right off the Quarter and it's like touring Versailles on acid. Before that, her family, my maternal great-aunt's side, had run a notions shop that supplied the ribbon and braid and fabric to make the costumes. She lived in a FEMA trailer for months after Katrina. Her husband John passed away a while back and it is unspoken but clearly the stress of Katrina added to the formaldehyde and stress of trailer living surely helped him on his way. The relationship is familial and personal. My ex-girlfriend, Shana Taylor, along with her friend Beth Schor, filled our Jeep with supplies and made 2 or 3 mercy mission to NOLA right after Katrina. She worked for the Noah's Wish people in Slidell at first and did good deeds all along the ruined area. She is surely in the book of the righteous and she has gone so far as to relocate there, making a commitment to rebuild the city she loves. And now my son, Danny, has enrolled at Tulane for his 2nd year of college. He loves the area and wants to make a difference and what better place than at a school in a city that needs help. He also worked this summer at a Cajun-Creole restaurant in North Hollywood and may end ud doing the same in NOLA. We at at Jacques-Imo's on Oak street and it remains my favorite all-time restaurant. They could turn the music down. Just from 11 to 10. That would be fine. So yeah, I've got a personal relationship with New Orleans, or Nawlins, or NOLA.
Which is why I hate the fact that John McSame, a man whose only qualification seems to be the fact that he spent a few years as a P.O.W. during the (illegal and immoral) Vietnam War is going to the Gulf Coast to show his concern for the area and the soon-to-be victimized residents. He's only bringing a few reporters. I guess the fewer reporters you bring, the greater your concern. But it was only 3 years ago that he showed his concern for what Katrina had brought by smiling as he held a giant birthday cake with his young doppelganger, the worst President in the history of the United States, George 43. Of course he's going to Mississippi and staying with Haley Barbour, the white white Rethuglican governor of Mississippi. He wouldn't be caught dead actually going to New Orleans and showing his phony empathy for many of the less-than-white folks who live there. And he's bringing his trophy blonde, the iciest ice princess of them all, since she's had years of practice at charity events showing false concern for those less fortunate meaning those who weren't born into a beer dynasty. Beer makes more money than the movie industry in America which is why we have a ratings board for movies but could care less about highway deaths caused by drunk drivers. We'd rather moralize and save our young from the evils of American Pie than from the heavy mangled metal of road fatalities. Oh, and I almost forgot, our newest Repugnantcan stateswoman, Sarah Palin, will be joining them. She knows foreign policy cause Alaska is near Russia; she knows domestic policy cause she has run a city of almost 6,000 and been a PTA member and she has been governor of a state that has more bears than people (the lieutenant governor does run on 4 legs); and let's face it, she's on the ticket to try and convince the Hillary hold-outs that look, the (R) party is inclusive, we put our woman in the second spot. It also helps that she's anti-abortion (i will never say pro-life since that lets them define LIFE as something they hold sacred and we don't!!!), wants to teach creationism (known as "crazyism" in my house) in the public schools, and has simply proved that the (R) party is controlled, body and lack of soul, by the theocratic right.
And still this election looks close.
After Obama's speech the other night in Denver.
After McCain's bring back the Cold War rhetoric.
After 8 years of an America that few of us recognize as America.
Still it appears close.
What must be done.
Everyone who is even thinking of voting DEMOCRATIC must register and do so.
This means especially the two groups that can sway elections now and in the foreseeable future - MINORITIES AND YOUNG PEOPLE.
They must register. They must vote.
And there must be Democratic watchdogs at polling places to make sure no thuggery, no dirty tricks and no DIEBOLD drama takes place on Election Day.
We're either going to enter the future with Obama.
Or take a giant step back to 1957, or even 1857, with McSame.
It bothers me that from certain angles and in certain pictures, McSame looks a bit like the old Chaplin. But the old Chaplin was a giant; a cutlural hero, a saint of the underdog, and a proud leftist. Lucky for us, unlike Chaplin in the movies, McSame gets to open his mouth and when he does, HE IS ALWAYS WRONG. ABOUT EVERYTHING.
Change the world. Or at least the country you live in.
America - love it AND fix it.