Sunday, September 04, 2005

I need an opinion?

Why did it take so long for help to reach New Orleans?

I've been puzzling over this for the past few days, and can't find an answer that I like. I can understand a brief delay due to cell phone towers or electricity being knocked out. I can understand that there are behind-the-scenes dramas in general that can delay things a few hours. I can even understand that there might be a very legitimate reason for a short delay that we, the public, are not going to be privy to.

But four days?
I'm not sure that I'll ever have an answer that I'm comfortable with.

Perhaps, though, "comfortable" isn't the answer I should be looking for. Katrina stirred me from my complacent little limbo. I've been bumping along for some time now, near-seventeen months to be exact, living in my own little happy place while my father dies. When I leave his house, leave him and my mother behind and turn on the radio for the drive home, I'm able to pretend that nothing bad is happening in my life. When I dial my old college roommate and we talk about our sons, about who we were friends with, and about our new houses, I'm able to live the life that I pretend to have.

Helping my father, all 6'2" and 115 lbs of him, is something I do because I want to. Please know that. Holding his hand to steady him as he walks down the steps is something I'm very happy to do. We've reversed roles, as countless other parents and children on this planet do. However, as part of caring for him, I'm doing everything I can to keep his limited world calm. I keep my stress to myself, never argue with my mother, and tell only funny stories. Anything to keep him from worrying.

So how does this mesh with Katrina? The devastation, the humanity, the lack of humanity, and this blog, have forced me to face that I have to rock the boat again. I can't spend my days being docile (when I'm not with my father). No wonder I'm frustrated sometimes! I have a voice that has been stomped on and pushed down and held prisoner all because I was trying to live in my happy place.

Happy places, you see, do not involve opinions that might make others unhappy. If others are unhappy, they might say something. If they say something, I might have to stand my ground.

So here's my opinion... or rather, here are my opinions:
  • FEMA should not be under Homeland Security.
  • GW should keep his mouth shut and let Laura do the talking. At least she doesn't sound like a deliberately engineered sound bite.
  • Those who are refusing to leave their flooded out houses New Orleans at this point are adults and can make their own decisions. As long as they are willing to live with themselves and any consequences, who are we to force them into refugee camps?
  • Stealing diapers and formula is not looting. Stealing a television set, or ten, while the city floods, is. Then again, stealing anything to make a fast back or capitalize on others' need is just plain wrong. Shooting looters on sight isn't always a bad idea.
  • Those who use this disaster as an excuse to act like animals are not acting.
  • When I hear about the way some "people" behave, the thought that their bodies would probably never be found floats through my mind.
  • If the majority of the people suffering are those in the lower socio-economic bracket, this is a good time to help them get back on their feet. Don't just hand people a check and say "see ya later." Why not find a way to educate them? Help them learn a trade that will enable them to live above the poverty line. Hand them a check and a tuition voucher for a trade school or college.
  • The media needs new video feed. We've been watching them save the same people for the last five days.
  • The media also needs to interview survivors who not only make interesting copy but also sound intelligent.

There. Opinions bound to irritate at least one person. Maybe two. It's a start. :)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you on the need to educate rather than write checks and say goodbye. I do think that local government has an obligation to teach the people to be prepared in situations, especially in high risk areas near coastal areas. But as some reporters have said It takes a tragedy to show what truly lies in the hearts of people. Some have robbed and taken advantage of others bilking the last of their meager money. With these people their character flaws can never be changed. They do not have that little voice in their heads saying "this is wrong". And so I say to these bottom feeders "your on your own".