After the McCain/Palin appearance at the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, residents hoped that the two Republican candidates for President and Vice President, respectively, would tour some of the flood-devastated areas of their fair city. Even if only symbolic, as was pointed out by a former Mayor of the City, Lee Clancey, a symbolic appearance from a President or a would-be President can do a lot to boost morale.
The appearance of Bill Clinton on the I-74 bridge during the Great Flood of 1993 was important to the masses. The appearance of Rudy Giuiliani after 9/11 was important in New York City. The appearance—or, in the case of Hurrican Katrina, non-appearance—of George W. Bush have been cited as, indeed, important, “symbolically.”
Said Clancey, “I think symbolism is very imporant. It gives people hope that they’re still being considered and there might be help forthcoming.” Damage in Cedar Rapids was estimated to be $1.3 billiion dollars. Over 400 blocks of the downtown were under at least 8 feet of water, including one dramatic shot of the Czech Village Museum top completely inundated except for the very top cupola.
State Representative Kraig Paulsen (a Republican from Hiawatha) said, “My preference would be for every member of Congress, every member of the U.S. Senate and every member of the Legislature to coe over and visit. For whatever reason, they (McCain and Palin) decided not to do that.”
Former Republican Mayor Clancy said, “We have received very little attention and less help.”
I went directly from the Republican rally at the airport to the flood-devastated areas of the Czech Village, as well as the downtown area in the neighborhood of 2nd Street, to obtain these photos. I didn’t see any ‘tours” by important people taking place while I was walking the streets of the quaint Czech Village, which reminds of our Village of East Davenport.
As Joan Benda, a Republican who works for a property management company said, she wishes McCain had opted to spend time touring the damage from the flood. “It would be nice, I guess, if he could at least do a drive-thruogh. I think the best way to trigger compassion is to actually see the damage.” During the speech at the airport (pictures also displayed), mention was made of a possible visit, but they sure weren’t at the Czech Village immediately after the appearance, because I was.