[Mb-civic] Floods Scour the Political Landscape,
Too - Tina Brown - Washington Post
swiggard at comcast.net
Thu Sep 8 03:49:22 PDT 2005
Floods Scour the Political Landscape, Too
By Tina Brown
Thursday, September 8, 2005; Page C01
Even though it is so familiar in our imaginations, it is still a
wonderful moment in the upcoming Discovery documentary "The Flight That
Fought Back" when the doomed passengers on Flight 93 seize the food cart
and race it down the aisle toward the cockpit like a battering ram,
united in courage and rage. At the preview of the movie at the Bryant
Park Hotel in Manhattan you could feel the exhalation of tension in the
audience during the reenactment: the wish-fulfillment, the satisfaction
at the virility of the gesture.
New York may have superficially recovered since 9/11, but the Bush
victory in the election last year left a hangover of self-doubt that
drained the city's mojo. Katrina's perfect meteorological and political
storm has at least blown away that mood. New York's sullen sense of
carrying around a deviant secret -- that President Bush is an empty
flight suit -- has gone with the wind.
If 9/11 was Bush's Woodstock, Katrina is his Altamont -- the place where
his ability to unite people behind a flurry of flag-waving came to look
like the hollow sham it always was. John Edwards's mantra of Two
Americas doesn't sound so corny now that Bush's soaring vision of
democracy on the march has suddenly been laid as bare as an abandoned
Superdome where the toilets are overflowing.
But for New Yorkers, the dimensions of the pain mean there is not much
glee in saying "I told you so." Ever since 9/11 we've been endlessly
stiffed on "homeland security." Millions for red Montana, nickels for
blue New York.
We had to grit our teeth and host the cynical hijacking of 9/11 by the
Republican convention last year, where even Rudy Giuliani franchised his
(and our) authentic moment of heroism to the Bush reelection machine.
The twin towers are still a gaping hole in the ground fought over by
greedy real estate agents, prima donna architects and culture warriors
distractedly arbitrated by a Republican governor preoccupied with
national political ambitions. The current plans for a third-rate office
building on top of a bunker with a censored museum seems like a strange
advertisement for freedom. But perhaps it suits the city's mood of
lingering disappointment after 9/11's squandered goodwill. Osama bin
Laden's outrage goes unavenged while we continue to suck wind in Baghdad.
But now, in Katrina's aftermath, there's something different in the air:
the scent of insurrection. The needless torment of New Orleans has
reignited the dormant passions of the election. E-mails are flying again
between friends who've been out of touch for months, enclosing Web links
to new polemics of disgust. The big donors with wallet fatigue after
John Kerry's loss are ready to write checks again, big time, for any
Democrat who shows courage.
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