Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Effects of Hurricane Katrina

Generally speaking, it appears that most people are a little flat mentally, whether consciously or subconciously, and rightfully so.
It's been a tough last 5 years both for our country and the world.

Hurricane Katrina has blown the lid of more than just New Orleans. This hurricane has really exposed a myriad of problems that are deep rooted in our society. Problems that have been ignored, not understood fully, or swept under the rug.

Lots of blame to go around for sure, and plenty of finger pointing is occurring.

Bush is bearing a large part of that blame, as was the now resigned ex-head of FEMA nicknamed "Brownie" by our fearless leader, and other officials such as the Mayor of New Orleans Ray Nagin.
Some people are blaming the citizens themselves, mostly for not leaving. I myself am guilty of that, wondering why the hell these people didn't leave.
There are a mulititude of reasons for that, and some reasons are unacceptable to those that do not understand what it's like to be dirt poor, truly dirt poor, have nothing but the walls around you, and no way to go anywhere but by foot.
We can go into that analysis much later, as now I just don't feel up to it.

USA Today has a good article that covers some of the attitudes regarding this hurricane and it's effects. Go here.

Here's a snip:

"But Rae Clifton, 52, a Web designer in Atlanta who is black and was among those surveyed, is certain that race and class did count. "If it had been a 17-year-old white cheerleader who was caught in the water, somebody would have tried to get there faster," she says. "But because it was poor people ... caught
in a situation, it was, 'OK ... we'll get there after a while.' "

Craig Betts, 54, a white man from Amityville, N.Y., disagrees. "Fifty years ago it would have been something else, but things are better now" when it comes to equal treatment regardless of race, he says. He attributes the problems to the
unpredictable nature of the storm."

There is more statistical data in that article, as well as other viewpoints and opinions. Lots of food for thought really. Quite frankly, I have to agree with Clifton, and only partially agree with Betts.

Wikipedia has a piece on Hurricane Katrina as well. Go here.
This article provides a timeline of the events and is chock full of links to other sources and the like. There is a vertical cross-section of New Orleans, showing elevations of the city and levees. It's rather interesting if you have time to check it all out.

As far as the Federal goverment's response is concerned; it was far too slow. There is no valid reason for New Orleans citizens to be trapped on their rooftops for 4 days. None. There are arguments about "they should've left when they had the chance" and such, but here's the rub: they didn't leave and they were trapped.
Regardless of the how and why they were trapped on their roofs, it should not have taken so long to rescue these people. There really is no excuse for it, and it has to be fixed.
The local, state, and federal branches have to be prepared for worst case scenario, and that applies to any location within the United States. People make mistakes, lots of them, and people will need to be rescued because of it.

My analysis of Bush being blamed for the Federal response is varied.
Bush has lost all crediblity with the American people save for his ardent supporters and apologists. Personally, I cringe when he opens his mouth, and don't put any faith in anything he has to say about anything at all.
I believe he is a product of our society, and is a symbol of the failure and lost focus of goverment at the federal level, among other things. He is a symbol of our society, and the great divides that exist.
He dodged the draft by being well connected, yet he is willling to send off American soldiers to die in battle, a battle over what exactly nobody really knows. Sure, we have lots of reasons given, but none so far seem to hold the slightest bit of water.

Bush and his family have no clue what it's like to be lower middle class or poor, none.
Barbara Bush's remarks underscore that with a big fat Sharpie style line:

"What I’m hearing which is sort of scary is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality." "And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this (she chuckles slightly) is working very well for them."

Parse that any way you want, it speaks volumes.

Bush pointing out that Senator Trent Lott lost one of his houses rings not only hollow to the average American but is rather insulting as well. A Republican President visited a Republican Senator during a national tragedy, lamented the loss of his vacation beach front house, and used this as an example of what exactly I'm still not sure of. Not to mention Sentor Lott has a less than stellar history of racial awareness as a public official.

Gee, can't imagine how that played out to the poor black populace of New Orleans, or anywhere else for that matter. Chances are, a lot of those people didn't even get a chance to see that display, due to their current circumstances.

Sentor Barack Obama made this statement: "...people just don't understand that most of those people that were trapped in New Orleans couldn't just hop in the SUV, fill it up with gas, and get out of town."
Those may not be his exact words, but that's more or less what he said, and the larger point is there and that is about the divide that exists in our nation between having the means to live and having to just survive.

An individual or family in any location anywhere in the world cannot even begin to live a normal life if every day they are trying to figure out how to get that next piece of bread. That's a fact that cannot be debated. That individual or individuals cannot contribute anything to society if every day is about survival. True survival.
Of course, many want to blame the poor for being poor, for being illiterate, and resorting to crime when they have nowhere else to go.
And the beat goes on.

Bush, his actions in general, his actions with Senator Lott, and Barbara Bush's statements all underscore how clueless the ruling elite are when it comes to the botton 80% of the American population, of which YOU are part of if you are American and are reading this blog.

I was against the war in Iraq from the beginning and have become increasingly anti-war ever since. When the tsunami occurred, it really made me wonder just what the hell we were doing in Iraq. Now, Hurricane Katrina has really pushed me over the edge.
Why are we in Iraq?
Really, can anyone honestly answer that question?
Every reason given for that war has changed since day one. Why are we there?

Some want to eradicate our goverment completely, or relegate it to a few simple tasks and leave the rest up to whomever.
I think that is ignoring the reality of constant societal changes. Goverment needs some serious fixing, but not eradication.

The silver lining of Hurricane Katrina is the display of those people willing to work themselves to exhaustion trying to save people and do the right thing. To perform those duties without bias. People opening their homes and communities for the greater good.
The effects of Hurricane Katrina, both good and bad, will be felt for a long time to come. The same applies for the current debacle in Iraq, and those effects will most likely last a lot longer. The weaknesses that Hurricane Katrina exposed can effectively be managed, but I'm not so sure about Iraq.
They are two different scenarios with entirely different consequences.
The process by which we got to Iraq can be managed much more effectively in the future, regardless of the person or persons that inhabit the political power structure, but the damage done by this unjust war is far reaching and severely complex. I think we can expect terrorist attacks on American soil for many years to come just stemming from our misled foray into Iraq alone, much less the other reasons parts of the world despise American ideology.

American ideology. That means so many different things to each individual in our populace. That in itself is an American pillar.

My brain is about to explode, that's all for now. ,

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