With Your Feet In The Air And Your Head On The Ground

All week long after work I’ve been watching Spike Lee’s documentary, “When The Levees Broke.”

The film, subtitled, “A Requiem In Four Acts,” is harrowing, heartfelt, and heartbreaking. It’s made for a few sobering ends to a few long days. But man, oh man, does it make ya’ wonder, What the fuck is going on? Where, to paraphrase my favorite Pixies song, is our mind?

I don’t have the time or inclination to line up all the facts, but you remember the highlights. Seven o’clock Monday morning, Hurricane Katrina makes landfall east New Orleans. Shortly thereafter, Mayor Nagin reports the first levee failure. Four hours later, George Bush shares a birthday cake photo-op with Senator John McCain at the Pueblo El Mirage Resort and Country Club. Eight o’clock that night Louisiana Governer Kathleen Blonco tells President Bush, “We need everything you’ve got.” Shortly therefater, Bush goes to sleep having raised nary a finger.

Um, huh?

Remember when, for a full seven minutes after Chief of Staff Andrew Card whispered “Mr. President, the United States in under attack,” Bush continued reading “The Pet Goat” to the children of the Emma E. Booker Elementary School?

Same guy.

Despite reports that 80% of New Orleans under water, and CNN’s hours upon hours of dramatic, heartbreaking footage, it took our president nearly three days to survey the scene — from the comfort of Air Force One. It took him until Friday to actually land the plane, and get his loafers wet.

I could go on. 25% of the nations oil and natural gas come from waters just a few miles of New Orleans; New Orleans get zero revenue. Those same fossil fuels drive global warming, which diminishes wetlands, which serve as buffers against storms. Of course, Bush money is all wrapped up in oil (like their friends, the House of Saud, who a) whisked Bin Laden family members back out of America on September 12th and b) stonewalled the U.S. investigation into all fifteen of the nineteen September 11th hijackers — who were from Saudi Arabia).

I wasn’t intending to write (another) diatribe against The Bush Administration. Nor am I (completely) conspiracy minded. It’s really bigger than all that. It’s really more about social justice, and priorities. It’s really more about me and you, about us.

For now, though, because it’s late, and I’m tired, I’m just wondering, what are we thinking? Are we really that interested in Monday Nigh Football and Beyonce’s Golden Globe nominations and Mel Gibson’s latest gaffe that we can’t see that all around us the levees have broken, and the water is rising?

Like Frank Black says, “Your head will collapse if there’s nothing in it. And you ask yourself…”

You ask yourself, where was Chertoff? Where was Cheney? Where was Rumsfeld? Where was Ridge? Where was Bremmer? Where was Bush?

Worse, where were we?

Way out in the water. See it swimming.

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