Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Let there be no mistake...

... Today is a great day to be an American citizen.

Today, September 6th, fully one week after the breech of the levees and the flooding of New Orleans, critical relief is finally coming to those affected by hurricane Katrina. And it is coming from the outpouring of aid and assistance from the American people.

As of Monday, seven days after the hurricane, Jefferson Parish President Aaron Broussard stated that he had only just then seen his first FEMA truck arrive on the scene. But, he said he has seen incredible aid and support from volunteers sent from local communities across the country. The American people have responded in force to the disaster and have said with resounding voice "we will not abandon you." After my personal application to volunteer with disaster relief, my local Red Cross office replied that they have received so many applications that they cannot process them all. Good for us!

From donations of cash and supplies, to volunteers in California, to police and firefighters from New York, it is the American people and their communities who are responding in droves and providing aid and assistance to a weary Gulf Coast area. As an example, the 100 New York City police officers who arrived Monday to assist the exhausted and traumatized New Orleans police force were nothing short of a godsend.

... Today is a poor day to be an American bureaucrat.

Meanwhile, the federal agencies we thought were in place to organize a national relief effort continued a path of ineptitude that can only be classified at this point as near comical - if it weren't for the fact that thousands of people lay dead. Our ineffective politicians and emergency management leaders are quick to spout off the consistent line that "this is not the time for finger pointing and laying blame - that time will come."

Yes it will.

And when it does it will show that the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of the federal government and FEMA - the political body and the organization whose job it is to anticipate and plan for national disasters, both natural and otherwise. And whose explanation for the relief debacle is simply "we never anticipated anything like this." And whose response when the disaster did happen was slow and ineffective. As the outpouring of volunteers waiting in the wings clearly shows: the problem was not in the lack of supplies, services or manpower - it was simply a problem of organization and coordination. The exact function of FEMA.

Yet, while the federal government's relief effort was inept and disorganized, and back-slapping bureaucrats continued with press conferences, photo ops and excuses, and while people continued to die, it was the typical American citizen who finally said "Enough - it's time to get things done."

Finally - it was that typical American who got organized and took action. Look at the many stories of individual citizens and local communities and you'll see who was making the difference, or at least trying. While those we put in charge to manage this type of effort failed miserably to do so, it was the typical citizen who proved what it is to be an American citizen. And it was the typical American citizen who proved how to get things done.

Maybe, just maybe, that's who should be in charge...



At 4:41 PM, Blogger Bob P said...

Well said, as always.

For another take on the compassion and overall grasp of the situation by our First Family, check out this little tidbit from Lady Laura.

It's so comforting to know that certain Republicans can find a silver lining in any cloud...

At 4:45 PM, Blogger N.J. said...

Yes, I've seen that one. But I believe you meant to say "Former Lady" Barbara.

As far as I know, Lady Laura has not yet opened mouth and inserted foot...


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