part one: katrina

katrina.jpgI, for one, am totally saddened by the horrible aftermath that Hurricane Katrina left behind.  It breaks my heart that many people have lost everything they owned.  Worse is the reality that some lost family and friends to the wrath of a natural disaster.  Yet, we must press forward.  Go ahead and say it…”I get the feeling you are going to be insensitive and you don’t know what those people have gone through.”  You are right, I don’t know what these people have gone through, but that doesn’t change the fact that we do need to press on.

For some odd reason we, human beings, love to hang on to someone else’s pain and blame others for that pain.  It doesn’t help that Mayor Nagin loves to sink ships with his loose lips.  I know he’s frustrated.  I also know as a Mayor he will politicize everything to his advantage.  Heck, Nagin, the Governor of Louisiana, the Director of FEMA and the President were all blamed for the failure of people not being evacuated.  Yet, I find it interesting that for almost a week prior to Katrina hitting the coast, all we saw and heard were the prognosticators presenting the many scenarios of New Orleans sinking into the Gulf of Mexico.  If they understood then how critical the situation was, why didn’t the people leave then?  Don’t you think the victims of Katrina were also at fault?  Not all, mind you, but many failed to take significant action to get out of the city.  Sure some were poor, others old and still others sick, but many who stayed had the means, and ability to get out of the way.  They were probably driven by a belief of personal invincibility…they cried the moment their frailties were revealed.  Katrina has made us all look bad, and helped us realize everything that is wrong with our American mindset.  We want the government to stay out of our lives, yet be our ever present crutch to lean on when we want.  We can’t butter our bread on both sides without a mess.

It’s a year later and all I hear on the radio is people complaining that the government has not done enough.  I say, “What have we done to help the people of New Orleans?”  It is too easy to blame someone else for not doing anything, yet it is our responsibility, in the spirit of humanity, to take care of each other.  Many of the evacuees have done incredibly well for themselves.  They have engaged with their new communities to make a difference and not live in the past, but learn from it.  They took the initial financial support of the Government and built on it.  They probably weren’t focused on building the American dream.  No, it was a matter of survival and proving they could build their lives, which to me is more important than building a city.

A lot of questions have been asked over this issue, but very few answers have been provided.  Or at least not the answers we wanted to hear.  Why can’t we be part of the solution instead of the instigators of negative thoughts and attitudes?  I know it isn’t possible for all of us to go to Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama to get hands-on with rebuilding people’s lives, but we can give something…we can pray.

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