Friday, September 02, 2005

The Aftermath...2

I'm moving beyond hearbreak to sheer and unadulterated rage right now. I'm not the only one who is angry, but since I have a forum for expression, I'm going to use it, dammit. I'm sitting here (supposedly working from home) watching our illustrious "President" touring the disaster stricken area.

I'm SO PISSED, SO FRUSTRATED THAT I'M MOVED TO TEARS... you will have to forgive me if I blather on.

It SICKENS me that this country has the money to spend $50 million per day in Iraq on a war that is not supported by at least half of the population is JUST NOW sending relief convoys of National Guardsmen, food, water and supplies to striken New Orleans. That the lawmakers of the United States wonder if they will be able to pay for the repairs and relief neded by the region. That they are letting people die in the floodwaters to ease the burden of the rescue effort. It has been fully 4 days since Hurricane Katrina tore through the Gulf Coast and people who have been trapped on the roofs or in the attics of their homes are just now beginning to see signs of rescue. Are you kidding me? This is America? This is the country that takes 1/3 of my income in taxes? This is what I'm paying for? UNACCETABLE. Every single person in this country should be completely OUTRAGED.

But as much as it sickens me... it does not surprise me. Let us look at the facts, shall we?

New Orleans is a southern city where 2/3 of the population is poor and Black. The mayor of New Orleans is a Black man. Majority of the people who were left in the city were the elderly, indigent, poor and infirmed. They had NO WAY of being able to evacuate, or were unwilling to leave behind relatives for whom the journey would have meant sickness or death. When you look at the images on the nightly news, you can hardly believe that its America you are looking at.

The leader of this country just arrived today in Biloxi, Mississippi to survey the devastation. TODAY.... 4 days later. The people of that region are in a desperate situation and he just arrived today. Some say he has alread seen the devastation, but and aerial survey from the comfort and safety of Air Force One doesn't seem to count to me. He should have been there days earlier. Even more so, there should have been a federally mandated evacuation ordered when there was even the slightest chance that a Category 5 hurricane was heading toward a city that is boardered by water on 3 sides and sits below sea level. Even if the storm had missed entirely, the cost of evacuation will be exceeded by leaps and bounds by the human cost we are going to incurr.

New Orleans is now a public health nightmare. Look at it from whatever angle you wish. Those floodwaters are a petri dish of waterborne illnesses like cholera and dysentery, amplified by the presence of the decaying dead. There is not adequate water, food or emergency healthcare. The average temperature in New Orleans for the last week has been 90 degrees with 75% humidity, which will lead to heat exhaustion. Perhaps the saddest situation is that the youngest victims, newborn and premature babies trapped in waterlogged hospitals could die, before they even have a chance to live

Meanwhile "President" Bush is down there listening to these disaster stricken families cling to him and tell their stories, surrounded by the press like this is damn a photo op. When I saw that today on the news, it took all I had in me not to vomit.

Part of my outrage is personal in nature. I have friends who are desperately seeking their family members and fearing the worst. They are wondering aloud to me why something isn't being done faster. Why are they relying on Houston's Astrodome and Relient Center (which by the way can only hold about 40,000 people between the two of them) for shelters? Why wasn't there a more effective plan in place for this inevitability? WHY DID THEY SEEM TO HAVE THE ABILITY TO AIRLIFT DOLPHINS FROM THE AQUARIUM TO OUT TO FLORIDA, YET PEOPLE ARE STILL STRANDED IN THE CITY? WHERE ARE THIS COUNTRY'S PRIORITIES?

As the people of New Orleans, and indeed the rest of the nation wonder what is coming next for the Crescent City. Will they ever be able to rebuild? Will the Big Easy ever be easy again? Or will this jewel of the south, and its people, be wiped from the face of the country forever?

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