I am sure some are wondering where I've been lately, so I thought I would write a few words to explain my absense. One reason is health issues regarding my son that have been occupying my mind and have left little room for creative thought. Thankfully we confirmed yesterday that they are not serious.
Another totally unrelated reason is that I have just been too mad to blog, if there is such a thing. I am mad about the blame game currently going on in the Katrina aftermath. Allow me to explain:
There used to be a time in this country when disasters united people and the best of America shone like a beacon for all the world to see. Not anymore! The blame game is in full swing while there are bodies floating in the water, orphans looking for their parents, and lives completely destroyed, and all some people want to do is find someone to blame it on.
In case some missed it, I'll recap:
A Category 4 Hurricane nicknamed Katrina swept ashore within miles of what has been called the worst-case scenario for such a storm to stike. It is the worst natural disaster most in this country have ever seen and will likely ever see. The only good news is that it actually could have been worse, although I have a hard time imagining it.
Note I said "natural disaster" meaning that it did not come ashore with an eye shaped like a blue donkey or red elephant and did not vote Republican or Democrat. It did what hurricanes do: it destroyed property, flooded cities, killed people, and ruined lives. It chose its path and destroyed everything in its path, whether it was a million dollar beach house or a two room shack. It did not discriminate, it affected all! So why is the hurricane getting a pass?
There are lots of things that have gone wrong in the response and recovery efforts surrounding this disaster, that is for sure. They always
do. A lot of things have also gone right in the response. They always
do. The difference this time is that many are seeking to make political hay out of the wrong as quickly as they can. Instead of shining light on the search and rescue/recovery operations of those on the ground, political hacks have chosen to conduct a search and destroy operation in the media. I would be willing to bet in the final analysis that much of the blame will rest squarely on those currently trying to shift it elsewhere, but the time for that is not now. If I were one of those in the disaster area right now, I wouldn't much care who was at fault, I would care about survival and would be counting on people to be concerned more about that than about partisan politics.
Another reason I have been mad is because it has now become personal to my family. I don't have family in the disaster area, but I now have a family member who has volunteered to go into the disaster area. He is my brother-in-law, and he is the perfect example of what true Americans do when disaster strikes.
He leaves in the morning with a group of Baptist Church members with a chainsaw, some tools, and a change or two of clothes. He is driving 9 hours from South Carolina to Mississippi and for the next few days he will be clearing debris from dawn to dusk to help a community try to return to some sense of normalcy. He is using some of his earned vacation time to work for his fellow man. How many politicians have you heard of lately that would use vacation time to do such a thing? Any politician can throw blame around, but I haven't seen a lot who will actually get off of their butts and do something to solve the problem.
My brother-in-law is doing this because he has some very useful skills that are needed right now and he is willing to use them without regard to personal benefit. His wife and two kids could surely use him at home right now, but there are others who need him more right now. He is risking his own personal comfort and safety in order to help provide comfort and safety to others. Words cannot express how proud I am of him at this very moment. The effort that he and many others will provide will truly move mountains in the days and months to come. I hate to see people like my brother-in-law and countless others give tirelessly while political hacks look around for someone to place the blame on. If they would put the same effort into actually working the problem as they do slinging mud, things would get done.
There are thousands of volunteers doing the same thing my brother-in-law is doing right now and they are being overshadowed by a pathetic blame game. This country was built on the backs of ordinary Americans and in the end it is them that will pull America through this disaster. Ordinary Americans don't worry about process and chain-of-command, they worry about each other and they help each other most when the need is greatest.
Ronald Reagan once said "Government is not the answer to our problems, Government is the problem." I think when all is said and done, the American people will be the ones who put the Gulf Coast back together while the government is still trying to figure out how to get out of it's own way. I haven't seen anything yet that would lead me to believe otherwise.
Thanks to Outside the Beltway Traffic Jam
and also to John in Carolina
who sent an e-mail to check on me and find out where I have been. Thanks for the concern, John and I hope the above post helps explain the absense. It's nice to have friends, albeit virtual, who notice when you are gone.