Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Hurricane Katrina: Where were you a year ago, Mr. Bush?

By Diane Silver

I've never been to New Oreleans or even driven through any of the other places swamped by Hurrican Katrina. One year after that horrible storm and the even worse response by our government, though, I find myself filled with pain and anger.

I see headlines like the one in The Washington Post about George W. Bush and Democrats flocking to New Orleans, and I wonder: Where were you a year ago when people were dying?

Bush's visit is particularly obscene.

A year ago, he couldn't be bothered. A year ago, his government, his people, his "heckuva job" FEMA director abandoned the Gulf Coast. His response to the storm made what was horrible unthinkable.

I have much more to say, but it's all a jumble inside. Consider this an open thread on Katrina. Where were you a year ago? What do you think now?

1 comment:

Jamie Lynk, Sarasota, FL said...

Before I comment, I must preface my comments with the following:
(1) I live in a trailer on the Gulf Coast of Florida and in 2004 evacuated 4-times for hurricanes;
(2) I live 55-miles north of Punta Gorda, FL which was hit by the eye of Hurricane Charley in 2004; and
(3) Individual volunteers were in Punta Gorda the next day; and at the latest, first responders were providing help within 48-hours.

I had evacuated to a friend's condo and we were glued to The Weather Channel watching Katrina move up the Gulf, praying we would not be hit. We were aware that Katrina would make landfall as a Cat 4/5. We knew the National Weather Service had predicted that the wind and storm surge damage would be catastrophic. After we were by-passed, we continued to watch TV and follow Katrina's continued progress.

When we saw and heard it would hit New Orleans; we felt empathy for what we knew was coming and we prayed for them. Then when TV started showing the aftermath; we couldn't turn away from the images.

That early empathy, turned to dis-belief, and then to ANGER. Wasn't Washington (DC) seeing these same images? Where was FEMA? Where was the National Guard?

Then came the excuses: FEMA said they didn't know about the Conven-tion Center until Thursday (Day-4}; the President said he feared violating "Posse Comitatus" re-strictions. State and Local govern-ment was slow in demanding help; but weren't they just like us in the expectation that we'd see the calvery ride to the rescue.

The media was the first to suggest what a lot of us were thinking and fearing: that race, class and partisan politics had played a big part in allowing the suffer and deaths to occur. In last night's NBC, Brian Williams identified the issues of race, class, petroleum and environment as causes of this disaster; and he called for a National Conversation on these issues.

We all must take responsibility for making sure that a National Conversation does take place. Natural (earthquakes; tornados; wild fires; hurricanes; volcanic eruptions; tidal waves, etc.) and man-made (chemical spills; atomic accidents; terroris; etc.) disasters will continue to happen.

Jamie Lynk, Sarasota, FL