Sunday, September 04, 2005

"The hatred and contempt of the oppressed masses are increasing, and the physical and moral forces of the wealthy are weakening; the deception on which everything depends is wearing out, and the wealthy classes have nothing to console themselves with in this mortal danger. To return to the old ways is not possible; only one thing is left for those who do not wish to change their way of life, and that is to hope that "things will last my time"- after that let happen what may. That is what the blind crowd of the rich are doing, but the danger is ever growing and the catastrophe draws near."
Leo Tolstoy

Dear Mr. President,
How are you feeling? While watching the news for the past couple of days, I have seen a lot of footage of you. You have held press conferences, made the best possible use of your photo ops, surveyed the damage in the wake of Katrina, and "comforted" the victims that you met along the way. I have a few questions I would like to ask you.
I want to know, how did it feel surveying the damage, death, chaos, and destruction left by Katrina, knowing that you had cut the funding to reinforce the levees of New Orleans, in order to fund the war in Iraq? A levee upgrade that would have spared the city of most of the damage would only cost about 2.5 billion dollars. You are spending 100 billion a year in Iraq. Was it really worth it to ignore the desperate pleas of New Orleans officials and put the city in harms way for 2.5 billion dollars? Your 1% tax break for the wealthiest people of this nation alone would have netted 37 billion dollars. I realize of course that you didn't foresee Katrina, you couldn't have known she was coming, just as you didn't foresee the Iraq war taking more that a few weeks and a handful of troops. I mean that must be the reason you chose to ignore the advice of the most knowledgeable people in Washington who told you that the war in Iraq would not be the cake walk Rumsfeld was telling you it would be... But it was necessary after all wasn't it? We had to go and get those Weapons of Mass destruction. You know, the ones that Saddam Hussein said he didn't have and the U.N. inspectors found no evidence of. But never you mind about that. We all know he would of had 'em if he could've.
I saw you talking to a woman who was telling you she had "lost everything." You responded, " I understand!" Really Mr. President? Really? I was very surprised to hear that. I hadn't realized that you had ever experienced the loss of everything. I mean, I am a single mother who has been living on an excruciatingly low income for many years now. Even I don't understand what it feels like to lose everything. Nor do I understand what it feels like to be hungry for more than a day or two, to give birth under a viaduct and watch my twin babies die, or to ride out a storm in a superdome fearing that the roof would be torn to shreds at any moment. And I don't know at all what it feels like to go thirsty for more than even a few minutes. I have lost loved ones, but not in a matter of seconds, and never because I was too impoverished to get them out of harms way.
We are paying outrageous prices at the gas pump Mr. President. They were already high because of the war, but as I said, I know you never expected the war to take so very long, (even though you had been told otherwise by the advisors you fired). And now, because of the oil refineries that are shut down because of Katrina, our gas prices are soaring even higher. But I know that you didn't expect Katrina either. (even though you had been warned about the effects of a hurricane of her magnitude by New Orleans officials) My friend has to ride his bike to work everyday now because he can't afford the gas prices. Do you understand about that as well? I know your family is oil rich, and you must feel the effects of the rising oil prices, although I guess in a much different way than the average American citizen who doesn't actually own the oil.
It's too bad it took so long to get the National Guard into New Orleans. They are spread so very thin with so many of them in Iraq. From what I understand they are dying in disproportionate numbers due to the fact that the National Guard was never intended to serve in combat overseas and is ill trained and ill equipped to do so. But again...you never foresaw it coming to this.
I am praying for you Mr. President. You have a real mess on your hands. I guess even the most powerful man in the world has his limits of control.
Sincerely,
Angevoix

P.S. I am a Christian, and even though many of my Christian friends and family said you were the ONLY choice for a Christian because of your stand on abortion and Gay rights, I didn't vote for you. Can you tell me, Mr. President, what progress you have actually made on those two issues?

18 comments:

jazztheo said...

Brilliant. I would have enjoyed it if the realities weren't so true.

voixdange said...

Yes...

jazztheo said...

What is the Christian vote. I have many friends who saw it so clearly that Bush was The Christian Vote. They made their argument to me based upon pro-life. It is because I am pro-life that I didn't vote for Bush. I am found of the Catholic's "Seemless Garment of Life."

A true pro-life position seeks the dignity of life in the womb, in poverty, in Iraq, on death row...in my estimation Bush is not a pro-life president. All one needs to do is point to his constant pursuit of war, his record in Texas when it comes to executions and lack of policy to protect the most vulnerable in this country and the Sudan.

Gary said...

Good letter.

The Christian vote (if it exists) might do well to look at the teachings of Jesus that talked about love, forgivness, tolerance, generosity, compassion... all things lacking from a right wing agenda. Viva Liberation theology!

I suspect Jesus would find many tables to overturn in today's temple... and many of them would have been set up in his name.

voixdange said...

Well said gentlemen.Well said.

packapucker said...

Amazing letter. Thank you.

jazztheo said...

Yes Gary,
Viva liberation theology, viva Orlando Costas, viva the wretched of the earth, viva Les Miserable!

Kevin Condon said...

Hey Angevoix,

Many of your points to President Bush are pretty well-established canards. Let's take the first one. The Levee that broke had been reinforced last year in a major renovation.

Another one? We can do two things at once. The money that fights the war was not robbed from funding for the 300 year flood preparations that were not done!

Those who wish the President ill claim that he mislead us into war, underestimating the time it would take, which is demonstrably not true. The words you quote are not his, they are words put in his mouth by others. Look it up.

The rest of your letter is similar. I think that the best way to read the administration is from their own words, not the words others use to characterize their words. There is enough REAL that is wrong. We don't have to exaggerate and shape in order to demonize others. The President is a man. He is imperfect. He needs our prayers. Though it may seem clever to make him into a baboon, it is disrespectful. Criticize with love and with respect. Pray for him. He's not perfect, but give him the benefit of a doubt or criticize him fairly.

The war is difficult. The times are confusing. They call for civility and incisive criticism that is constructive and clear; not low blows to hurt, but clear advice to improve.

This is not worthy of your great heart, dear. You can do MUCH better...and will, I've no doubt.

Dr. Mike Kear said...

"This is not worthy of your great heart, dear."

You are mistaken, Mr. Condon. Angevoix's heart is great precisely because she cares for "the least of these" and is not falling over herself in an attempt to prop up a fallen man and a corrupt administration.

I thank God that there are Christians such as Angevoix who are willing to give voice to the heart of Christ's words rather than to the rhetoric of compromising nationalistic religion.

Angevoix said...

Thank you Dr. Kear.
Morpheus, You know we disagree on this issue and I am too damn sickened, angry and grief stricken to be lectured to play nice right now. There is no way in hell I am going to go point by point with you on this issue...it has cut me way too deeply. Although I could I promise.
This is not about politics for me, this is about human suffering period.

Angevoix said...

Also Morpheus...trying to assume a position of magnanimity in your argument rather than some kind of hard evidence to establish your point of view is less than convincing.

You can do better.

Kevin Condon said...

I'm sorry you are upset. I want your best, Angevoix. This was a little Al Frankenish. You can take George Bush with one half of your brain tied behind your back. If you have something of substance to say, say it well. Part of what I try to do is insist that we are all accountable for what we say (remember Neoluce?). That isn't mean, though it may hurt. I promise to give you my best and stay away from easy slander and half truths. As I said, there is plenty to criticize. A caring heart is no excuse, Dr. Kear. I know the quality of her heart. But when we are hurt, we may say things that don't bear up in the light of day. I'm not being political. I'm insisting on substantive criticism. The times deserve it.

Angevoix said...

Kevin -- I don't pull this stuff off of the top of my head. I watch a variety of politcal commentary from every different source I can get my hands on. If you noticed my site is linked to BBC and Aljazeera. I read incessantly, I watch POV, Frontline, European Journal, etc...
What I don't understand is how you can criticize my argument on such grounds. When I read yours it appears to me to be full of superfluous meaningless generalizations and just plain bad excuses. No subtantiative data whatsoever. You have offered no statistical evidence whatsoever for your argument and command me to "Look it up!" Its your argument that needs substantiating, not mine...
But please...do it for your own amusement, I am so tired of being subjected to the surreal world of the Bush defense I could scream...
For the last five years I have felt like I am trapped in a neverending episode of the Twilight Zone, and never moreso than when I am hearing someone defend the lies and chaos left in the wake of this administration...
I think very highly of you Kevin, and you know it...but you also know we are miles apart on this issue...And trust me, I am not coming around about it...

jazztheo said...

Angevoix, you remind me of a Rich Mullins song...

"I will sing for the meek,
for those who pray with their very lives for peace,
for those in chains for a higher call,
their mourning will change, and the laughter,
when the nations fall.

In spirit poor,
in mercy rich,
they hunger for Your righteousness,
their hearts refined in the purity,
Lord let me shine for them,
Lord let me sing.
Lord let me shine for them,
Lord let me sing."

Angel Voice,
keep singing.

Angevoix said...

I promise I will -- til my very last breath -- or until the insanity stops...whichever comes first.

Angevoix said...

P.S.

You can read about the situation with the levees at
www.editorandpublisher.com
In the article
"Did New Orleans have to happen?"
the Sept 6,2005 issue

You can read about the National Guard situation at
www.nydailynews.com
in the July 5th article,
"Heavy toll on
Guard in Iraq war
More killed than in 'Nam
By THOMAS M. DeFRANK
DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF"

You can read about The EX Army Boss
Eric Shinseki at
www.globalpolicy.org in the article
"Pentagon Contradicts General on Iraq Ocupation Forces Size"
by Eric Schmitt.
and at www.usatoday.com
in the JUNE 2003 article
"Pentagon Won't admit Reality in Iraq."

Hopefully that is good enough.
May I suggest the articles be read in the light of day...
As you say, Kevin, the times deserve it.

Kevin Condon said...

I owe you that. I will give you some substance to go with my criticism. One of the problems with this medium, however, is its form. We blog in paragraphs. The details need time. The emotions are easy(Jumping from emotions to judgement takes no time at all!). I'm sure we'll communicate, because I'm your brother and your friend. As such I owe you much Angevoix. Your blogging and commenting has made me think and enriched my life. More later, of course.

voixdange said...

I do tend to use emotional arguments, and for the most part it is intentional. But it does not mean that the emotions do not stem from fact. I do it deliberately because my purpose is to help us to see the very human element to the issues at hand. When issues become a petty war of factual information flying back and forth, many times they become a clinical analysis that distances the argument from those who are suffering so deeply. My purpose is to get us to move from sitting on our butts in front of the televison saying "Oh, isn't that a shame?" to having enough empathy to get up off of our butts and do something about what is going on. My purpose as well is to try to help us undersand that there are very real people who feel sharply the effects of our votes, and unfortunately it seem
that the ones feeling it the most acutely are the "least of these." The ones Christ said are His representatives on this earth when we give.
A soft heart isn't necessarily an indication of a soft head.