Monday, September 12, 2005

New Orleans' Bain: A Hurricane named Katrina and a Governor named Kathleen

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the entire world mourns the loss of life and lifestyle for the people of New Orleans. It has been a tragic week in American history. It has led to a massive migration, unlike any in history. Almost every state of the Union has absorbed those seeking refuge from the storm. And, it looks like not many people are heading back.

Now, in the political aftermath of this disaster, many people are blaming President Bush for not reacting fast enough to the disaster. Granted, he seemingly did not grasp the magnitude of the disaster in the first few days. Strangely, nobody within the normal chain of government seemed to get it. But, from everything I've read, when George W. Bush did learn about conditions in Louisiana, he was not a happy camper. One report said he "screamed." I would too, if I realized that people hadn't updated me on the situation.

But, if we are going to blame people for not reacting to this disaster, we can't point all fingers to the Federal Government. The real failures in the wake of Hurricane Katrina were Mayor C. Ray Nagin of New Orleans and Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco of Louisiana. It is the local government leaders who failed here. And, in the aftermath, they're trying to blame Bush for all their problems.

Immediately after the Hurricane, when the levees were starting to break, the Governor should have called for all available resources in the state. She is the one who knew this storm was coming. She and the entire world knew what would happen to New Orleans if hit by a Category 4+ storm. Did the Governor react? NO. For the first few days, she ran around like a headless turkey, entirely unable to function. Reports say that she refused some relief shipments to the Superdome because she didn't want it to attract more people. She did not do enough to make that shelter at least semi-secure and safe. It is not the President's fault that her supply system failed miserably, it was her responsibility and, therefore, her fault.

Personally, I'm willing to accept that there were logistical difficulties getting supplies to the survivors. The place was flooded! Roads were impassible. Even so, somehow the media news trucks made it to the scene to film the horrors. But, did they stop by Costco on the way down to bring a few cases of bottled water? Nope.

I'm tired of people pointing fingers and blaming in the aftermath of a huge tragedy. I'm sickened by people who think President Bush withheld supplies because the people were black. Give me a break! It's time for people to buck up and take responsibility. That starts from the state and local level, then extends to the national government. Even so, it was a tragedy, we failed. Now, what are we going to do about it?

I am happy to see that humanity is triumphing over this disaster, even though it seemed to arrive a little late. Our fine military men and women had to come in to stop the senseless looting and establish peace in our own borders. Regular people across this great land have opened their doors, their storehouses, and their wallets to help those displaced by this storm. And, in the end, things will get back to normal.

And, as we learn from this storm, I can't help but ask: Why would we have a major population center in hurricane alley that is 7 feet below sea level? What's wrong with this picture? And, even more, why haven't we built a new oil refinery in the last 30 years? (You might notice that Bush's proposed energy bill sought to significantly increase our refining capacity... nobody gives him credit when he turns out to be right).

Overall, the southern Gulf Coast suffered greatly at the hands of two despicable women:

A Hurricane named Katrina and a Governor named Kathleen

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