George W. Bush spent half of his time in the State of the Union address defending his plan to send more Americans into the crosshairs of an Iraq civil war, but had not a single word of sympathy, encouragement, or support for New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Gulf Coast, still suffering from the ravages of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the federal levee engineering disaster which destroyed New Orleans. He narcissistically delights at the thought of himself as a war president. Were it not for 9/11, he’d have been an ineffective, unpopular president (as he is now, but he would have been denied a second term). Let’s remember how little he’s accomplished in the domestic arena other than tax cuts, which pick our childrens’ pockets tomorrow to enrich the super wealthy today. The “war against terrah” has been so grotesquely mismanaged and exploited for other agendas that even as Bush is talking about surging American troop levels in Iraq, the Taliban and Al Qaeda — who really did attack Americans on American soil — are surging again in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The only answer Bush has for the mismanaged occupation of Iraq is more of the same — more troops in the wrong arena for the wrong cause. In a vain attempt to create democracy from the muzzle of a gun — what Bush himself once derided as “nation-building” — Bush is breeding more animosity and more insurgents. He has never fully engaged the international community — the Arab world in particular — in sharing the responsibility for the outcome in Iraq. His sole interest is securing control of the world’s second largest petroleum reserves under Iraq for his oil company friends. Bush’s “coalition of the willing” has always been a farce — a mere shadow of the international support his father achieved. George W. Bush is creating a giant Sunni-Shia Hydra. There may be no good answer to solving that problem, but his effort to stabilize Iraq by killing more Iraqis will only create more insurgents, kill more Iraqis, and kill more Americans. Meanwhile, by ignoring Americans still suffering from the worst federal engineering disaster here at home, a great American city — a great world city — is being destabilized.
More than 200,000 people remain displaced from New Orleans. Their homes sit idle while they wait for insurance, wait for Road Home grants — neither of which are sufficient compensation to rebuild their homes — wait for streets to be repaired, wait for water and sewer lines to be repaired, wait for street lights to be repaired, wait for the criminal justice system to be repaired, wait for schools to be repaired, wait for hospitals to be repaired, wait … wait … wait. Tens of billions of dollars spent on cleanup amounted to nothing after Bush’s friends grabbed the money. When it was all over, all that remained was $8 billion in CDBG grants for homeowners — a sum of money that George W. Bush has been spending in Iraq every four weeks for nearly four years. Meanwhile, a great American city — a great world city — has been allowed to die. Scores of thousands of more Americans across the Gulf Coast remain without hope.
It’s time for a march on Washington. I propose February 24th — the first Saturday after Mardi Gras — a perfect occasion to take the carnival revolution from the streets of New Orleans to streets of Washington. We’ll need trucks and flatbed trailers to load up with soggy, moldy furniture from houses still not gutted a year and a half after the federal levees broke. We’re going to haul the debris to Washington and dump it on Pennsylvania Avenue as a gesture of our contempt for a president who had nothing to say in the most important report he is required to provide to Congress about the well-being of our nation and her citizens. I’m calling on Americans across the nation who care about New Orleans, who care about the Gulf Coast, who care about the lives of American soldiers and their families, who care about the pressing global environmental issues that need to be addressed right now, who care about an eroding middle class, who care about America and the world being created in George W. Bush’s image. Let us Americans, all of us, march on Washington to tell George W. Bush and Congress that we don’t want their war in Iraq any more. Let’s march on Washington to tell George W. Bush and Congress that we won’t stomach the deaths of any more Americans from oil wars; we won’t stomach the deaths of any more Americans from environmental disasters; we won’t stomach the deaths of any more Americans from bloated bureaucracies and engineering failures. We demand honesty. We demand transparency. We demand accountability. We demand real solutions for the coming environmental challenges. We demand coastal restoration, and Category 5 protection from hurricanes and rising sea levels.
We are Americans. We demand an adequate answer from our elected officials when Americans are in need!