Local elections matter more. Mayor Landrieu inherited a city $67M in the red from the previous administration, five years into a rebuilding nearly from scratch that had seen its share of disappointments.
He gave a sobering state of the city address earlier this summer, even though he'd only been in office a few months. Now, he's holding budget meetings across the city. He started in New Orleans East and continued the process last night in the Lower 9th Ward.
Read these articles. Read the complaints. The people in these neighborhoods have paid taxes like everyone else while their government has been unable or unwilling to provide responsive service. Conditions of this nature would be unacceptable almost anywhere else in America. And yet...
And yet this Mayor shows up. He brings our government officials with him. The people air their grievances, but remain respectful. Each side gets to listen and each side gets to speak. Truths are told. Real things are talked about. These meetings have a chance to produce results.
If only things like this were front page news everywhere.
Compare that with the photo-op townhalls staged by most of our national politicians. Compare that with last summer's health care meetings with people screaming and agitating and shutting down all conversation. Compare that to the pranksterism of video-slicing and compare it to the manufactured outrage over John Kerry's yacht berth. Compare these meetings in New Orleans to all the crap you watch, listen and read about in your daily "news" consumption.
I could give a shit about Obama going on "The View," or "why" he did so. I could give a shit about how he polls two years before the next election with 1,100 historically fickle Americans that opinon companies can get a hold of.
Talk to me about paved roads, property remediation and hospital construction.
The people in these neighborhoods can't get ambulances to their urban neighborhood in one of the most recognized cities on the planet. But there they are, showing up on Mondays and Thursdays, involved in redressing that grievance. And doing so with more class than all the oversimplifications and generalizations will ever give them credit for. Put that on TV and watch perceptions start to change.