03 September 2005

Nagin calm, optimistic after meeting with President

Here's a change of pace.

Now, let's talk about Ray Nagin for a bit, shall we? And let's examine where lies the responsibility for a city, like - oh, I don't know - New Orleans, for example.

The mayor is responsible for the administration, planning, governing and general guidance of the city. In the event he can't do that job, he/she should solicit the help of the state, which is governed by, um, the Governor.

Am I going too fast?

In the event the state government is unable to handle a crisis, the administration of that state should appeal to the Federal government for help.

Now, let's take a look at the sequence of events regarding New Orleans, hurricane Katrina, and government.

The day it was evident the storm was going to hit New Orleans, the President declared the State of Louisiana a disaster area, making it easier for the state and local governments to take advantage of federal funds to assist with relief and recovery efforts. Quoth George W. Bush, August 28, 2005:
Yesterday, I signed a disaster declaration for the state of Louisiana, and this morning I signed a disaster declaration for the state of Mississippi. These declarations will allow federal agencies to coordinate all disaster relief efforts with state and local officials. We will do everything in our power to help the people in the communities affected by this storm.
What did those state and local governments do? Nothin'

When the mayor of New Orleans ordered a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans, what did he do to help facilitate that evacuation, knowing full well that the poor and disenfranchised of his city would have limited resources to effect that evacuation? Did he order the hundreds of school buses at his disposal to transport people to places of safety? Nah. Rather, he opened the Super Dome as a "shelter of last resort." Last resort, indeed, as there were apparently no provisions for the basics of life, sanitation, or even common decency.

Louisiana's Governor Blanco simply whimpered and wrung her hands while all this was going on. You know, she's not a big supporter of the President. In fact, she's got a bad habit of going somewhere else when the President is in town. I don't think they had lunch together today, either.

So let's recap. The mayor of New Orleans completely drops the ball, and puts the populace in dire peril. The Governor of Louisiana continued to look like a worried housewife who hadn't seen her kids in a few days. And how does the Governor handle this situation she's helped create? By authorizing police and military to shoot to kill her own constituency. Don't get me wrong - looters deserve shooting, but what created that environment is the real travesty here.

And whose fault is all this? Why, the President of the United States, of course. Not only that, but Ray Nagin proceeded to rant and rave to whomever would listen that the relief effort's failure to move fast enough was the fault of the federal government. Let's just set personal responsibility aside for a while, shall we? Let's forget that preparation and planning could have averted the tragic suffering that now defines the Big Easy. Let's say stuff like
"They flew down here one time two days after the doggone event was over with TV cameras, AP reporters, all kind of goddamn _ excuse my French everybody in America, but I am pissed," Nagin said.
Let's flash forward to today, after meeting with the President of the United States:
His comments came a day after he was heard on a radio interview erupting in tears and telling the government to "get off your asses and let's do something." By nightfall Friday, his tone had changed.

"Today was a turning point, I think," he said. "My philosophy is never get too high, never get too low. ... I always try to keep my emotions in check and yesterday I kind of went off a little bit. I was worried about that, but it maybe worked out. I don't know. If the CIA slips me something and next week you don't see me, you'll all know what happened."
Now, if anyone wonders why things are so bad in New Orleans, I'd recommend you re-evaluate your position, and start at the source. Government in the United States is, BY DESIGN, a hierarchy. Remember that the next time you decide to start fixing blame at the top. It's bottom-up government, and if it were any other way, you wouldn't be living in the United States of America.

Now, get off your asses, and help these people.
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