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From Right to Left: Changing My Political Views September 4, 2005

Posted by Leita in Flotsam/Jetsam, Government, Hurricane, News, Politics.

As the last several thousand Gulf Coast souls–dead and alive–are pulled from the water and putrid muck, my attention turns just long enough toward Washington to point a finger and place blame. It is their fault. I’ll never believe otherwise. As the fourth anniversary of 911 draws closer, the similarities and differences grow, a long list that leaves me hoping, praying the whole public, not just a few notables and oddballs, but everyone will speak out about the atrocities we’ve witnessed. This week’s forgotten citizens represent us all. New Orleans may not seem like a typical American city but it is. The suffering and dead faces we witnessed are our own. This week we were forgotten, neglected and ignored in favor of.. hell, I don’t know why. We don’t have a terrorist to blame this time so we blame our government. I’m good with that. Homeland security is a failure. If it were a television program it would’ve been pulled and trashed a long time ago. Born and raised on the Gulf Coast I know first-hand what happens after a hurricane. The National Guard is often called in to keep the lawless few from causing more damage. Riding out a storm is no fun but usually the aftermath is worse. After a storm we are emotionally battered. We’re angry. We’re hot–oh damn, we’re so blasted hot. If we evacuated, we want to see our homes and families. Often we’re kept out and until this past week, it’s always been to protect us and protect our property. But kept in? Never. We have the right to be pulled out of our homes even when we’re too stubborn or too poor to leave. We know we will be miserable for weeks but we have the right to clean water, food and shelter. We have the right to fuss at our mayors when they make post-storm decisions we don’t like. We have the right to try and sneak past the National Guard whenever we can so we can see if we still have a home or to check on a neighbor. We have the right to guard our homes and businesses against looters, and to become looters to feed and clothe ourselves and our families when there is no help. At least, we did until a few days ago. My father lives in Gautier, a few miles east of Biloxi. It was damaged pretty badly but not as bad as other places. Even with roads open into town, there was no water or food or help sent to Gautier until Thursday. Until yesterday, I didn’t know whether Daddy was alive or dead because no organization or agency bothered to set up a system for tracking individuals after a disaster. No matter, citizens set up their own forums and resources before the storm surge had sulked back into the Gulf. Storm rules were changed and I don’t understand why. Even people who do not live on the coast understood Katrina was going to be a bad one. They worked before and the low death tolls from most of the previous hurricanes prove the fact. The 1900 Galveston hurricane killed over 4000 people. No one knows what the final count will be this time, but it’ll surely be a close second at least. I don’t want to consider a record-breaker; it’s too heartbreaking to think about. I think I’ll continue watching, reading, crying, pointing a finger toward Washington and with great conviction, say “Never again.? Shame on you, Mr. President. The people you chose to take care of us are a direct reflection on your lack of human compassion and your inability to properly run this country. How stupid are you to put into place a system that thought it not wise to drop water and food down to the people while they waited for rescue? Did you really think we’d watch your people preen on television while whole cities were suffering and dying and believe all was well? Do you now understand the American public is not comprised of idiots who can be swayed by a press conference? I used to be a Republican. A liberal conservative, to be more precise. Now I don’t know what I am anymore except ashamed and very, very afraid.



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