Two percent. That’s the percentage of U.S. blacks who approve of President Bush’s job performance, a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found.
Blacks’ current two percent approval rating of Bush is down from 19 percent a half-year ago. Why is this?
Hurricane Katrina and modern communication. Millions of African Americans watched TV coverage of the post-Katrina human suffering, and they are furious about it.
The pain of Katrina was borne most heavily by blacks. The mighty Karl Rove can’t spin the president out of this.
No amount of Rove’s strategic and tactical skill can counter the televised imagery of modern-day savagery after Katrina. He and the neo-cons can only hope for a miracle to counter what the world has seen in the hurricane region.
Recall the images of elderly blacks in their walkers moving painfully down the road away from their storm-ravaged homes to where? Remember black infants lacking clothing, food, shelter and water in the Big Easy? How about thousands of blacks abandoned to their own devices on the streets of New Orleans? Meanwhile, storm victims were reduced to seeking succor from non-union Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., which at least showed much more alacrity than Uncle Sam did: “Wal-Mart knows from experience what things people buy before and after hurricanes pass by, and it shipped extra amounts of them by the truckload: Obvious items such as flashlights, dry ice and tarps, but also Strawberry Pop-Tarts” (Bill Steigerwald, “Government Can Take Lesson from Wal-Mart,” 14 October 2005).
Corporate media showed this conjuncture of the color line and “disaster capitalism.” Accordingly, recent presidential polling data reflects how that brutality has affected the sentiment of American blacks, including most of the well-heeled blacks wooed by the Republican Party.
Public opinion is key to the consent of the governed. David Hume noted that in 1752.
Bush’s free fall in the hearts and minds of many African Americans is historic. People make history.
That’s reality. The president and his (wo)men can’t hide from it.
Seth Sandronsky is a member of Sacramento Area Peace Action and a co-editor with Because People Matter, Sacramento’s progressive paper. He can be reached at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.