Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Year Ago

A year ago this week I was finishing up and framing 44 paintings for a solo show at the Main Street Gallery in Groton, NY. I was also completely distracted by Hurricane Katrina and the flooding in New Orleans. It was so difficult to be doing something that felt so trivial while people were dying and while our government was vacationing, shopping for shoes, or standing around wringing their hands, playing the blame game and making excuses. A year ago this week, I also realized that I really, really despise Bush and his administration. I see no compassion in Bush at all, ever, about anything or anyone. He didn't care about those poor people on their roofs, or trapped on the highway or in the Superdome, or the bodies floating around New Orleans. If he did, he would have been moving heaven and earth getting help down there. Because if he really wanted to help the people of New Orleans he could have. Please read this, every word of it makes me want to cry about how screwed we all are by having Bush as our president.

I can't add anything else, everything I want to say sounds so lame. I wish I could do more to help. And no image today, putting a landscape painting up with this post seems silly.


Anonymous said...

I share your anguish, Tracy. I can hardly bear to revisit those days. That post, which I'd never read before, ripped me apart. My disillusion with Bush began long before Katrina, but still I rage at his ineffectual, detached responses to so many vital issues. As an historian, the only solace I have is that future U.S. history textbooks will expose his presidency for the sham that it is.

Karen Jacobs said...

I didn't reside in NOLA proper, but on the outer fringes of Metro New Orleans. We moved out four years before Katrina moved in... and destroyed the vital city I knew and loved. I've been back five times, way less than Geo and Laura, and it breaks my heart. Bush carries a lot of blame, but it isn't his alone. The city should have been much better prepared for something that had to happen at some point in time. It's a lazy government down there, on both sides of the political fence. They don't call it 'The Big Easy' for nothing. I don't care who happened to be president, it would have been a disaster at half the toll. But it does seem that our response to a tsunami on the other side of the world is quicker to our own wounds. That's inexcusible.

meno said...

This, along with the war, and a few other things (birth control funding, fewer taxes for the rich....), make me totally say amen to your words.
I can't wait to see his face in the rear view mirror of time.

Tracy Helgeson said...

Hi Ann, I agree with you and hope that history will really look at this presidency and how destructive is has been.

Karen, I don't really blame Bush for the disaster and lack of preparation, that was clearly years in the making, but I do blame him for the lackluster response. The mayor and other officials were begging for help and we could all clearly see on tv that things were bad. I just don't understand why Bush didn't break a few rules and cut through the red tape to save those people. If anyone has the ability to do that it should be the president.

Tracy Helgeson said...

"I can't wait to see his face in the rear view mirror of time."

Perfectly said!

Anonymous said...

As a Brit living in New Zealand I feel that its hardly for me to comment, except to say that for me (and many like me, I am sure) Katrina was a wake-up call to what I had already suspected about Bush.

But I fo know that he and his administration are NOT representative of what the American people believe in and aspire to.

The tragedy of New Orleans is one of the many terrible examples in todays world of how governments (both local and national) lose sight of their people, their real needs and their duties towards them.

And when push comes to shove it is always the families and communities that shine through in times of trouble.

June Parrish Cookson said...

Tracy, my brother drove from Washington state down to New Orleans last year and applied for a construction job. Upon returning, he talked about his first-hand experiences and his anger towards not only the Bush Administration but regular people who are still in denial. Although power is one of the main reasons Bush is still our president, denial comes in a close second. Truth Hurts!

Anonymous said...

June said, "Although power is one of the main reasons Bush is still our president, denial comes in a close second."

I would have to add fear to that list. I think fear drives hate--the current administration was elected on a campaign of fear and, in my opinion, appears to raise the terror alert when polls are down.

One of the saddest after-the-fact elements of Katrina is that we, as a nation, missed the opportunity to have a good conversation about racism and classism.

Tracy Helgeson said...

Hi Lesly, you can definitely weigh in no matter where you live. I agree, governments get so caught up in power and greed that lives are expendable to them. We see it so often. I don't expect the gov't to do everything but in times of natural disasters, they are the ones who have the resources to do what's necessary.

June and Shan, You both make good points about fear and denial. But don't get me started on how I don't totally disbelieve the 9/11 conspiracy theorists about how that was engineered by the US gov't in order to control us by our fears of terrorism!

Nice to hear from you Shan, How's it going?

Anonymous said...

It's going well Tracy. I'm reading your blog on a daily basis--it's one of my studio coffee break treats--but have been limiting comments because I am trying to limit my on-line time in order to meet some deadlines.

Couldn't resist the opportunity to join in the political frustration though!