Friday, September 02, 2005

Katrina Thoughts

So, it has been about a week since either PoliBoi has updated the blog. With that record one would think that we are also in charge of Mayor Anthony William's blog. We have some compassion for the Mayor, though. Updating a blog takes time and consideration. We generally have neither, but try our best. Our excuse is that we took a brief unexpected vacation. And I was working full-time on getting a new job, which I did!

Now I am going to spend some blog space providing my thoughts on Hurricane Katrina:

I have been absolutely stunned by the scenes in New Orleans and the other areas struck by Katrina. I am more shocked by this tragedy than I was by September 11th and the recent Tsunami in Asia. Recovery and rebuilding efforts during those two tragedies seemed to happen a lot quicker.

Most of the people affected by Katrina are poor and black. They had little before the storm and now they have absolutely nothing. Living in poverty before Katrina, these people already had a sense of what it is like to be abandoned by government and society. Sadly, now they also know that they can expect the same abandonment when they face ultimate tragedy.

Supplies have been slow getting to these people. Five days after the storm, many still have not received clean fresh water or food. People are dying in the streets from preventable causes like dehydration. These people, expecting basic needs from their government after a storm, have a right to be frustrated and we should expect them to be at their wits end. It seems appropriate that lawlessness would reign in New Orleans during this time. These people are truly fighting for basic survival.

Looking at the pictures of New Orleans, I feel like I am looking at pictures out of a developing country. The scenes I am seeing coming from home I would expect to see coming from those regions of the world. I just saw America citizens picking through trash to survive. Perhaps I am wrong to assume that the lone superpower in the world would have the capability to save its own people five days after a major disaster. Actually, I expected everyone to be saved after one day.

This situation was not unpredicted either. For years, a major hurricane hitting New Orleans was considered one of the greatest threats facing America. For years, the Army Corps of engineers have requested money from the federal government to improve the levees and drainage system in New Orleans. For years, the calls to prepare New Orleans for a disaster like Katrina have gone unheeded. Now the levees are breaking and New Orleans is New Atlantis. Sodom and Gomorrah. Pompeii. And this is happening in America.

If you are looking to blame someone for the scope of this disaster, you can certainly focus your sights on the federal government. Their response to this disaster now and when it was just a potential one is disturbing to consider. Even when the storm was imminent, it is clear steps were not taken to deal with the aftermath. And we have known for years what the aftermath would look like.

Right now, politicians who deserve the blame are running away from it. In this tragedy, leadership has been scarce. Reporters that question politicians deserving of blame get the same response. These politicians do not want to play politics in a time of tragedy. What these politicians need to realize though, is that they already have played politics and now they must pay the price.

Regardless of who is to blame, I can only hope that things will get better for those who have been hurt by Katrina. I think our society is finally waking up to the reality of America, which may be the silver lining in all of this. Now more must be done to wake up our government and ensure that people get the help they need now. We do not have time to wait for tomorrow.


a gay antihero said...

In November 2004 the voters of Louisiana overwhelmingly approved by a 78 percent majority an amendment to the state constitution that bans gay marriage. In light of Hurricane Katrina that destroyed New Orleans due to an antiquated and inadequate levy and pump system -- a problem the electorate had known about for decades -- I suggest that in the future the good voters of Louisiana focus more attention on issues that really have a material impact on their lives instead of expending so much time, money and effort in denying the love and happiness of others.

a gay antihero said...

I hope you can forgive me for mispelling "levee" as "levy" in my above comment