"We can make it better (better we can)" - Kanye West, We Can Make It Better (featuring Talib Kweli, Q-Tip, Common & Rhymefest)
That's my favorite phrase this week. "Speaking truth to power." I loved it when Anderson Cooper and Soledad O'Brien and Ted Koppel and Ray Nagin (who isn't above rapproach for his actions prior to the hurricane but who has been a stand up human being in the aftermath) did exactly that earlier this week and I love that an artist who will sell well over a million copies of his sophomore album this week (making him likely the most significant musician of the Fall) put it all on the line to say what he felt.
I'd quibble with the semantics a bit and say that George Bush doesn't care about poor people but you can extrapolate to his point. If you don't care about poor people and poverty effects black people at a much higher rate in this country than any other community then, by extension, you can't really care about black folks right?
If you don't have an urban renewal program, you can't care about poor black people who still live mostly in ghetto-ized urban communities.
If your recently passed bankruptcy bill that goes into effect in October will make it almost impossible for these poverty stricken disaster refugees to recoup much of anything from their losses or get out from under the massive debts they will accrue, then you can't really care about poor people.
If you continue to ignore infrastructure problems in a gulf coast community that is predominantly black while making sure that the oil and trade interests that also are based there are taken care of, you can't really care can you?
Read Sploid this week. Read Amy's Robot this week. Read the Huffington Post. Check out CNN's incredible coverage this week (welcome back to real news, CNN). The New York Times and the LA Times have been great.
Soledad O'Brien pointed out earlier in the week that it only took two days to start airlifting food to Sri Lankan Tsunami victims. It took 4 days. 4 DAYS. 4 FUCKING DAYS!!!! for New Orleans and Waveland and these other gulf port cities to start getting food and water. 4 DAYS for there to be a National Guard Presence. 4 Days for the President of the United States to survey the damage. To get on the ground. To provide leadership.
To be fucking Commander in Chief.
And still people are trapped. Still people sit on rooftops and doors and in shopping carts floating along poisoned water in the humid Southern Summer air waiting for rescue.
And all American cities should be considering what would happen if a disaster struck. In LA, we don't have much to worry about in the world of natural disasters besides a big quake and, thankfully, we seem structurally sound and prepared for such an event but we have nearly 100,000 homeless people in this city. What happens to them? What happens in South Los Angeles when a disaster strikes?
As a society are we doing the best for our weakest members?
What saddens me about that question is that that used to be a regular part of American political discourse. While fighting Communism in the 60s, 70s and 80s, we were still talking about how to help the destitute, the downtrodden, the less well off.
Now we only talk about the rich and the middle class. And our underclass grows.
And dies in domes and convention centers.
The truly disadvantaged.
If our President and our government won't care for them, who will?
Her tenement was rat infested
Her heart is like gold buillon cuz she went and protested
cuz her best friend's man got popped
He was 16 years old and a cop thought his phone was a glock
In the hood it's an every day happening
In front of the precinct she chews out the captain
She yells out, "Why you do this to Black men?"
Come on...We can make it better (better we can)
-Q-tip's verse on We Can Make it Better