It's a sad, sad day when a city in a country as great as America has devolved into nothing more than a police state.
Fires burn, unquelched. People die in the streets, deprived of basic human necessities - this includes the elderly, infirmed and babies.
The police hang a sign on their precinct - Fort Apache - "under seige". They wait out the storm. Not the physical storm of Hurricane Katrina, but the storm that has followed. The storm of Human Desperation.
Tourists were turned out into the street with no where to go, forced to survive the deadly streets where rescuers are being shot at, and anyone on the street becomes a potential victim to rape or even murder.
This is not some third world country. These are our neighbors. Our fellow man.
And I am seething with anger that our federal government has taken their time getting these desperate people the help they deserve.
A great American city was laid to ruins, and not simply because of a major hurricane. Lack of planning, insufficient resources and poor prioritizing play a big part in this growing tragedy.
The Mayor of New Orleans has grown angry as he watches his city crash and burn around him. Who can blame him?
Instead the responsibility falls on the shoulders of American citizens - corporations, charities and private citizens - who jumped into action to fill the gap left by the federal government.
I make no bones about the fact I never supported Bush for president. I never supported him for Governor of Texas either. I get painted with the "liberal democrat" brush pretty often, and that's okay by me. Label away, I don't care. I believe what I believe and I apologize for none of it - in the same way I don't apologize or justify my faith.
But this goes so far beyond partisan politics.
In 1999, when Hurricane Floyd headed toward Virginia and the Carolinas, President Clinton cut short a trip in New Zealand to orchestrate relief efforts ONE DAY BEFORE Hurricane Floyd - a Cat-3 storm - made landfall.
In 1992, while George Bush Sr. was busy campaigning, he cut short his efforts to rally support and rescue efforts for Hurricane Andrew.
In 2005 - as a Cat. 5 hurricane barrels toward the Delta - with decades of study under the belts of Washington bigwigs that New Orleans was particularly vulnerable to a catagory 3 hurricane, George W. Bush -
Was on vacation.
This is not a tsunami that struck out of the blue. This is not a terrorist attack with little warning. This was something that we *knew* was going to hit and we *knew* was going to cause widespread damage - especially to New Orleans.
What's especially disheartening to learn, is that ten years ago, after a flood killed 6 people in New Orleans, the federal government created a project called SELA - or Southeast Lousiana Urban Flood Control Project to help shore up levees and bulid pumping systems to protect New Orleans from at most a catagory 3 hurricane.
That $750 million dollar Lake Ponchartrain and Vicinity Hurricane Protection Project was never completed. The government knew that it wasn't completed. The funds had been diverted due to tax cuts and the war in Iraq. So our government KNEW that New Orleans wasn't adequately protected form a catagory 3 hurricane due to vulnerable levees that were supposed to protect the city.
Subsequently, a breech in a levee allowed the waters of Lake Ponchartrain to seep into this basin shaped city and create a state of chaos that is unfathomable in our modern United States.
Meanwhile - as a catagory 5 hurricane barrels toward the Crescent City - the president rode his bike. Went to a birthday party. Played guitar with a country singer.
Instead of rallying support to get those sandbags in place to help do what the incompleted levees couldn't, instead of sending what military troops we still have here to help keep the peace, instead of pulling together every possible resource to prevent this tragedy from becoming catastrophic...
Our president was on vacation.
Not even an hour ago, I was filling up the dog's water bowl and it struck me that there are thousands of desperate people in New Orleans who don't have water.
Imagine that. They don't have water.
When you flush your commode, think about these people who don't even have that.
Think of the mothers who have had to separate from their children so at least the babies could be evacuated. A woman gave birth to a baby in the street, the baby did not survive.
Life began and ended in the same moment, and there was no one there to help them.
Think about those angry, desperate people who may have survived the hurricane by the grace of God, but their country is allowing them to die in the street.
I don't know about you, but that is absolutely UNACCEPTIBLE to me.
When you're hungry, or thirsty, or injured, or sick, or hot, or all of the above, one hour is too long to wait.
We're now on day five.
There must be a reckoning. There must be accountability.
Forget the polarizing topics like the war in Iraq, or abortion, or gay marriage.
Again, this is not about partisan politics.
This is about America. This is about simple human compassion.
This is about the most generous country in the world rendered helpless by an ineffective federal government.
Just what kind of message does THAT send to terrorists?
So Mr. President. This is not time for a photo op. Please save your rhetoric. Please stifle your religious catch phrases.
It's time to stop standing behind the Bible and to start practicing it.
God bless the people of New Orleans and the Delta.
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