There is something about those awful California fires and our government’s response and President Bush’s response that is bugging me. I’ve isolated the problem. It is two words long. New Orleans.
Our government’s response to the fires has been basically in line with what citizens should expect. It was swift, it was thorough and it promises to continue as the painful and trying rebuilding moves forward. It is in line with how the government responded in 9/11’s aftermath in New York.
I’m glad he went out there. I’m glad he consoled some people. The pictures are very nice.
That is what continues to trouble me about New Orleans and Katrina. Not only was our government’s failure historically horrific, it continues to this day.
Read what noted history professor Douglas Brinkley wrote on Katrina’s 2nd anniversary:
Over the past two years since Hurricane Katrina, I’ve seen waves of hardworking volunteers from nonprofits, faith-based groups and college campuses descend on New Orleans, full of compassion and hope.
They arrive in the city’s Ninth Ward to painstakingly gut houses one by one. Their jaws drop as they wander around afflicted zones, gazing at the towering mounds of debris and uprooted infrastructure.
After weeks of grueling labor, they realize that they are running in place, toiling in a surreal vacuum.
Two full years after the hurricane, the Big Easy is barely limping along, unable to make truly meaningful reconstruction progress. The most important issues concerning the city’s long-term survival are still up in the air. Why is no Herculean clean-up effort underway? Why hasn’t President Bush named a high-profile czar such as Colin Powell or James Baker to oversee the ongoing disaster? Where is the U.S. government’s participation in the rebuilding?
And why are volunteers practically the only ones working to reconstruct homes in communities that may never again have sewage service, garbage collection or electricity?
Eventually, the volunteers’ altruism turns to bewilderment and finally to outrage. They’ve been hoodwinked. The stalled recovery can’t be blamed on bureaucratic inertia or red tape alone. Many volunteers come to understand what I’ve concluded is the heartless reality: The Bush administration actually wants these neighborhoods below sea level to die on the vine.
I don’t want to believe that it is all about money and race but the Bush administration is making it harder and harder to come to any other conclusion. This administration’s days are numbered. There is little it can do. History will judge this administration one of the worst ever. It is simply a matter of its position. There are, however, things that can be done. Showing up in San Diego was terrific Mr. President but how about going back to that city in Louisiana…. you know, this one you were looking at while it flooded: