I’ve lived in a flood prone part of the country, so I know what it’s like to keep an eye on the sky, and the weather, and worry about the possibility of your home or your workplace being flooded. In Southeast Texas, where hundreds of thousands of homes are build on flat, and I mean flat, land that is less than 50 feet above sea level, I’ve seen the actual flooding, not just the footage on television, I’ve agonized with co-workers and fellow church members who’ve experienced loss of personal belongings in a flooded house, and I’ve helped in clean up efforts afterward. I’ve also experienced the agonizing fear when the rain kept coming, and the water crept up to within inches of my own doorstep.
So the political atmosphere that is now swirling around Southern Louisiana is shameful and disgusting. It just needs to stop. Quit turning this into a political circus, get off your duff, and either get your checkbook out or head down there yourself, but get off social media and pipe down. This is not your opportunity to pump a sagging presidential bid, or bash the President, or make the other guy (or lady as the case may be) look bad.
A Few Facts
Hurricane Katrina was the worst natural disaster in American history. It was the storm that everyone had been waiting for, knew was coming, but hadn’t quite happened yet. The odds that everyone, including those who provided and built the infrastructure to handle 90% of the storms that hit the area, had played against for years came up short, and the once in a hundred years storm capable of taking out the levees did just that.
The city government, the local parishes and the state were just not prepared for the scope of the disaster. The combination of inept leadership and shortage of resources was too much. But the surprise was that FEMA, the federal government’s disaster relief program, was also inept and unprepared. That was a disaster not only for Louisiana, but also for the Bush Administration, which took a public relations beating. Remember that? The President wound up having to replace the director of the agency, and it took months for it to mobilize the resources it needed to provide a level of assistance that was anywhere near as helpful to the people of New Orleans as they needed. It was one of the biggest black eyes of the Bush years, outside of the recession.
Contrast that with the fast response of FEMA this time around. The governor, John Bel Edwards, asked for, and got, a disaster declaration within three days of the realization of the extent of the flooding, before many areas had even been inundated. The director of FEMA was in Louisiana the same day, and the federal agencies that are at work there now are in daily, direct communication with the President, in spite of the fact that he is on vacation. He is still directly handling the crisis in Louisiana, something that his political critics either seem not to be aware of, or are deliberately ignoring.
The governor also noted that it would not be beneficial for either of the major party candidates, or the President, to come to Louisiana at the present time. They are still dealing with flooding, and its aftermath, and do not have the resources to spare to provide the kind of security and equipment necessary for the President, or the candidates, to tour flooded areas. It’s hard, really, for me to see the benefit of strutting around in a campaign slogan hat, with the devastated, destroyed houses of people in the background, just to prove what? That you’ve got a jet and can get down there? Or just so you can claim to score one over your opponent? Or so you can one-up the President, who has already committed billions of dollars and thousands of people providing assistance, as you are standing there?
The media has also taken a beating over their coverage of this, though from my perspective here in Pennsylvania, I’ve seen plenty of pictures, and have been reminded, several times each day, that I need to be grateful that I’m not there, enough to motivate me to help out in some way. I’ve done that, as have most of my neighbors and friends. How much more coverage do we need? How much more invasion of people’s lives, when they’ve lost their home, their possessions, in some cases family members or friends, is necessary?
And do you really expect me, or anyone else for that matter, to believe that just because a politician doesn’t share my particular political perspective, they are any less concerned than any other politician about the people of Louisiana? Or any other part of the United States for that matter? Go peddle your hateful ignorance somewhere else. There’s not a market for it here.