I told a friend the other day, that the phrase “Today is the FIRST day of the rest of your life” never rang truer to me, than after this week of devastation and displacement. I mean for many in the Gulf States their lives will never be the same. Last week’s events will be part of the story their great great grandchildren are told when they ask “How did our family end up in <Insert State Here>?” For many New Orleanians (sp) this is a completely new life, it truly is the first day of a completely new future and hope ( even if you plan on returning back to the Big Easy). Some will be given more money in relief than they have seen their whole lives, some will make a better life and some will squander it, because they know no better. Some will return. Hell, some won’t ever leave. I saw a family on the Today show, middle class (the mother was a nurse) and they don’t want to leave their home. She said something that I never really thought about. She said our house survived the storm. She said that they were cleaning up after the storm. It was the breach in the levee that flooded their neighborhoods. Once that happen the pumps were shut down. Or as I heard some pumps burned themselves out pumping the water out. Actually, according to sixty minutes the levees didn’t break I am assuming they mean the pumping stations and not the levee as a levee is an embankment used to stop a river from overflowing. I mean the levees were breached because a break in the flood walls that caused the water to overflow over the levees and fill up New Orleans. This leads me to think if the levee hadn’t broken there would not have been this huge disaster we see today, sure there would have been death and loss of life. But more than likely most would have been able to return home. The aftermath of Katrina was far worse which is saying a lot because Katrina was one bad bytch. Look at the destruction in Mississippi as evidence of that. The crazy thing is on my way home to Houston from Baton Rouge last week; I saw a convoy of FEMA trucks and vehicles racing east. I thought they were on top of it. Actually I think FEMA was on top of the storm part and NO ONE was on top of what would happen if the levees were over flown? My friend told me that the sand bags that were supposed to fill the breach were not sent because of miscommunication. The breach in the levee was supposed to be filled with sand bags on Tuesday. We actually talked about it because he told me the mayor was pissed because he said too many people were trying to be in charge. I believe the breaches were filled on Friday/Saturday. It just leaves me to say WTF? So what happen between Tues and Friday (I mean besides the thousands trapped with out food and water) it took you three days to get sandbags for the levees? I mean the least you could tell me was you were busy getting sandbags and thats why you weren’t bringing the food and water. Now that the levees are plugged water is going down as fast as water can. Just imagine if they had those bags in place let’s say Tuesday. I mean, wouldn’t you think that they should always have sandbags readily available and on call due to the fact New Orleans is a big bowl with a complex system of levees keeping water off those streets. Oh well, I am sure they will next time (I doubt I’ll be around for a next time).
What a Lifetime
Do you realize what significant historical events we have witnessed in our lifetime. There is 9/11, the tsunami (sp), and now Katrina and her aftermath and that is just in the last 5 years. I guess its not more than my mother who has managed to be alive during segregation, integration, the civil rights movement, an assassination of a President, assassinations of several Civil Rights leaders, the moon walk, the death of five popes, TVs (color and black and white), two wars with out an end in site, Internet, plus all the events I mentioned before. I guess those baby boomers, really have had quite a lifetime packed full of historical events. Way more than my Gen X butt, now that I think about it. These boomers have seen a lot in their lifetimes.
What has Katrina taught me? One, the office of Homeland Security is nothing more than one more layer of bureaucracy to go thru to get help. Although the blame is placed on FEMA, some believe FEMA had its hands tied by being under the umbrella of OHS. There is even a bill being written to break FEMA away from Office of Homeland Security. They are all so clueless as to how exactly to help us even when the supplies are readily available (once Nagin went off its amazing how the supplies stared to flow and people got organized). It really just takes one word from the President. I couldn’t beleive they were asking Nagin to fill out forms before food and water could be dispatched? CRAZINESS. I mean she has taught me a lot of stuff that I already knew (nest eggs and all that stuff) but nothing more than exposing the gapping hole in our country’s defense aftermath. I mean there is no excuse for the thousands that died because we sat on our hands to dispatch the National Guard and other relief. Once given the mandate it took them two days to effectively evacuate the city. That should have happened on Wed (really Tuesday but that is te same day the levee was breached) Anytime I can see Katie, Sam, or Dan walking through the streets that means food water and help should be able to get there. NO EXCUSES. Is this a case of race and class? Partly, I think more so class than race, if the dome was full of influential middle class blacks I’d have to believe the government would have been Johnny on the Spot. In america it is about money and power, that is why N.O.’s needs have been neglected for so long. It just so happens in this country race and class walk closely together. With black and poor being familiar running buddies. I think that Kanye West’s accusations were a bit harsh however; you have to think that many just looking at the pictures have to think that. The president must not care, why else. I don’t think there was any malicious intent on the delay. However, it is apparent that breaking his vacation for a national disaster seemed far from the President’s mind. As someone pointed out to me Bill Clinton probably would have been on a plane Monday just because he would have wanted to be there to survey the damage and talk to the people ASAP, so naturally where the President goes attention follows right. I am not saying Bill was the greatest but this cluster probably wouldn’t have happened just because of the type of leader he was (he liked to be among the people). Well, enough with the who didn’t do what. It’s time to make these lemons into lemon-aid. Talk to you folks later.
If you didn’t hear what Kanye said here is a link to exactly what he said. I think based on the facts although his accusation is a very simple conclusion; you could see how one may think that the president doesn’t care about blacks. Kanye is not the first to question if this would have happened in Boston or some other predominantly white city if the outcome would have been the same. He just was a little less eloquent with his accusations. I am not saying that I believe this to be true, but I can see how the leap was made and probably will be made for many (especially for those that were left languishing in that Superdome and Convention Center).
Also Checkout this transcript from Meet The Press…very interesting. Tim Russert is the man always on ’em. I read this after I wrote my blog today (always have to get my Meet the Press in one way or the other). I tought it was interesting , so check it out if you have time.