Friday, September 09, 2005

After the Aftermath

We have a country in crisis. People are displaced, dead or defiant. Other people are trying to figure out how best to help. Other people are spending a lot of time spinning the media to wind their way.

The real estate records for the city of New Orleans are wet in a basement.

Whole towns and cities in Mississippi are just ... gone.

The gulf coast is a shambles beyond comprehension.

And yet, the glib and the powerful are spinning... and spinning.

Thousands of people were herded to the Superdome, where there were no great stores of water and food awaiting them.

It reminded me of the civil defense shelters of my youth. They always had these barrels of emergency water, emergency food, and supplies. You knew where they were by the CD sign. In those days we feared a nuclear attack. This disaster called Katrina affected an area the size a nuclear bomb would affect. But where were the emergency supplies?

If GWB declared a state of emergency, FEMA had the go ahead to mobilize on Sunday. Where were they? What did they wait for? Volunteers were halted for clearance. Turned back, told to wait. For what? They didn't get the request for help? They got the request for help the second GWB declared the state of emergency!

FEMA as gatekeeper is a failure. Ordinary citizens stared at their television sets agape, horrified, donating money, donating miles, wondering how more they could help. People flew their planes, helicopters, drove miles and miles to help. But FEMA needed confirmation there was a problem? Was anyone from FEMA on the ground in the center of things to make an assessment? It sure doesn't sound like it.

Now, I look at this and wonder - what about hurricane Ophelia? The next earthquake in California? The next volcano eruption in the northwest? Will we finally be ready to respond then? And with what resources? Over 50 billion for this horrific disaster alone. And, where is that money coming from? What part of the budget has that slush fund?

I think the time of being horrified has just begun.

What do I want to see?

I want to see the president impeached. The buck stops right there.

I want to see our foreign issues closed so we have resources here at home for such catastrophes.

I want FEMA taken out from the Homeland Security department and put back the way it was. Revamped. Reorganized. Reinstituted as an actual functional organization that has a little respect for the local authorities.

As one more voice in the wilderness, that is what I want.

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