Listen up, George. I'm talking to you.
George? Are you there? It’s me, Polimom. (May I call you George? I feel I know you so well…)
I need to talk to you, George. I'm having a couple of problems, and I really need you to listen up.
I’m sick, George, that America elected a leader that doesn’t care about Americans. I keep thinking I’m missing something – that surely somewhere, buried at the very back of some publication or another, I’ll find that you remembered about the Gulf Coast – about Louisiana – about New Orleans – about your promises…
Or rather, your lies.
Because you lied, George. I’m sorry to be blunt, but then, this is how I talk to people I know. Honestly and directly. Pay attention here, 'cuz it’s a valuable skill you need to learn.
You're killing people, George. By ignoring an entire population, you’re adding to the hopelessness. You didn’t create it – but you had the power to help heal it. We all thought maybe you would, in fact, that day in Jackson Square. But you didn’t.
Do you remember that day, George? I do, and so do millions of other Americans. How is it that I haven’t heard the words “New Orleans” fall from your lips since then? SAY something, George! Does it bother you that people are in pain - are dying the slow death of despair? It tore my heart out when I read the following. Why doesn't it bother you?
A friend of mine who used to live here said on the phone from Philadelphia the other day: "I don't know how you guys can even get out of bed in the morning."
Well, obviously, some of us don't.
But we have to try. We have to fight this thing until there is no fight left. This cannot be the way we go out, by our own hands.
Is this commentator right, George? Should we all just give up on New Orleans - like you have?
Katrina destroyed the Big Easy — and future Katrinas will do the same — because 1 million acres of coastal islands and marshland vanished in Louisiana in the last century because of human interference. These land forms served as natural "speed bumps," reducing the lethal surge tide of past hurricanes and making New Orleans habitable in the first place. A $14-billion plan to fix this problem — widely viewed as technically sound and supported by environmentalists, oil companies and fishermen alike — has been on the table for years and was pushed forward with greater urgency after Katrina hit. But the Bush Administration has turned its back on this plan.
I think I’m giving up on you, rather than giving up on New Orleans. I have to give up on you, George. You understand, right? Because if I keep waiting for you, then by default I have to give up on America – and I refuse to do that.
Unlike you, George, I still care. Unlike you, George, I can still hold my head up and call myself an American.