City of Roses
|Hi Sandra! (angel hugs) I just got back from the Oregon Coast with my family and grandparents, I spent the Labor Day weekend with them in a beach house in Lincoln City, and yes, we did indeed watched a lot of cable television in the evening, where Katrina was something we kept talking about after heading to the beach and marinas in the daytime.
The more I've watched and the more I've learned about the response, the more I'm just so disappointed of their weak response to the tragedy. Seeing Aaron Broussard's most pure, emotional response on Meet The Press made me cry indeed, as I believe we all truly want to have the utmost faith that our government will rush to help us when we're in dire straits, and when there's such a delay on their part, how else could you possibly feel? Surely you can't help but feel abandoned, or betrayed somewhat.
I'm just not convinced that many in the government were aware that this wasn't your typical emergency response, and make no mistake that there have been many other bad hurricanes lately that caused hurt and harm. But the meteorlogists, who originally said Katrina was probably going to head along the western coast of Florida, were able to warn that it made an unpredictable shift deeper in the Gulf of Mexico and the eventual right turn toward Louisiana/Mississippi, and that the New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin warned the city ahead of time this was a disaster that had to be taken seriously and ordered evacuation measures and such, and after all of that, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the administration didn't even seem to hear the warning until two to two and a half days had passed after Katrina hit the coast.
Like I was saying in the initial Katrina thread, this hurricane couldn't have been prevented, and much of its damage was inevitable. I can also understand how indeed it takes time and effort to move National Guard troops from one place to another and they couldn't have made it right away.
But the actions of the administration and FEMA are just inexcusable to me. Indeed if they had signaled and responded earlier, the National Guard soldiers would have been there about two days earlier and spared a lot of the heartache, deaths and dislocation that has happened all throughout the region. On their watch, about the ten or more who died each hour could have had a second chance had they responded sooner and emergency health services were offered to them.
I do think FEMA's merger with the Department of Homeland Security after 9/11 did indeed explain how short-sighted our government seems to be on non-terrorism related issues and responses. I like what I hear about that legislation the Democrat John D. Dingell will introduce tomorrow that will break that merger and make FEMA an independent agency headed by a cabinet-level executive that will monitor these sorts of domestic threats.
I also hope our government will truly learn from this mess. In 2001, FEMA itself warned that a hurricane hitting New Orleans would be the deadliest of three theorized disasters facing New York (a San Francisco earthquake and New York City terror attack were the other two), yet federal spending on flood control in southeast Louisiana has been slashed by almost half since 2001. Work on New Orleans' east levee stalled last summer for the first time in decades. And earlier this year, when the US Army Corps of Engineers wanted $27 million to maintain the levees along Lake Pontchartrain, the government only agreed to under $6 million.
I hope our government truly learns from this lesson and maybe they'll begin spending less on fighting an acceleratingly unstable and wronged war in Iraq and more on the defense of our own borders. After all, how can I begin to believe the government is protecting us or can defend us from a feared next major attack here if they were so slow this time around?
I truly hope they learn from their mistakes here and show the will to swiftly respond and rush to the aid and defense of the citizens rather than playing guitar with Mark Willis or shopping for shoes on Fifth Avenue.
Despite their rough tardiness, I applaud the wonderful, caring and compassionate spirit of Americans in each state, each county, each community nationwide. The compassion of everyday American families and volunteers I truly feel is a well in their hearts that never runs dry and continues to grace our great country with the gift of hope and healing.
God Bless all you Passions poets who have given your whole hearts, and God Bless America!
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other"