Ten years ago, I spotted this sign in the window of the neighborhood video store. The rapper Kanye West, at a concert for storm relief, had blurted out some truths:
West's outrage felt a relief. What we'd all seen on the TV was so horrifying -- New Orleans drowned and so many of its people still trapped by water and the failure of our systems to provide help.
West gave us somewhere to direct our rage -- this travesty must be George Bush's fault. In 2005, we were still close in time to the 9/11 attacks, after which for awhile the national need to pull together had made it hard to voice criticisms. Of course many of us had protested the Bush administration's follies and crimes: the Iraq invasion, Abu Ghraib tortures, the absurd security theater at airports, the color-coded alerts. But West's blunt declaration seemed to open the floodgates for all of us who desperately needed to scream at the administration: "you are taking the country in a wrong direction!" Thanks Kanye.