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                                       politics + culture

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

the enormity of it

The enormity of it is just coming clear. Hurricane Katrina visited a devastation upon Louisiana and Mississippi..and the cities of New Orleans, Biloxi and Gulfport...a devastation whose breadth and scope we are just beginning to understand.

With news of people being emergency-evacuated from the rooftops of flooded homes in the city of New Orleans as we speak, and startling death tolls emerging from Biloxi and Gulfport, we can only be grateful that so many heeded the warnings of local officials and evacuated the Gulf Coast. We must remain apprehensive about what will be the ultimate loss of life, and immediately concerned about those left in the city, its hospitals and hotels, and the thousands now effectively trapped in the Super Dome.

As it stands, an entire American city has been evacuated...and hundreds of thousands of its citizens are unsure about when, and if, they will be able to return to their homes, or the health and safety of their friends and loved ones who stayed behind. This is a disaster on a huge scale, and should be treated as such.

Yes, we should keep these folks in our thoughts and send them help according to the measure of our means....but we should also resolutely and stoutly be advocates on their behalf over the next days, weeks and months. These are our brothers and sisters....fellow Americans, citizens of this land...like you or me.

We need to stand with them, citizens of Louisiana and Mississippi...and the residents of New Orleans, Biloxi and Gulfport....with the surety that they would stand with us if the tables were turned, and with the knowledge that our advocacy on their behalf is the least thing we can do to help friends and fellow Americans in their time of need.

Update: accountability goes hand in hand with advocacy. Try this well-researched diary by ghfactor on dailykos or this photo essay by stopgeorge, at dkos as well, for the other half of this equation. Where is the leadership here? Where and when will the President step up his rhetoric, and step out front here? It's a valid question, even as we all dig in to help....and our priorities remain directed to that front. Accountability is a part of advocacy. By holding George Bush accountable and demanding greater leadership, we help the victims of Katrina.

3 Comments:

  • Reports are saying it looks like "a war zone" and we want to see commensurate leadership to deal with it. I don't see a marshalling of forces to meet this domestic crisis-- Army, Navy, Coast Guard, etc. to evacuate and house these people like we would in an actual war zone. Thanks for pointing us to the Daily Kos posting. Homeland security has never addressed our real vulnerabilities, and Iraq has sucked our military dry. Let's see what kind of domestic president we have here. Don't hold your breath.

    By Blogger girlinthelockerroom, at 5:34 PM  

  • I'm sad
    I'm sad
    I'm so fucking sad
    --Scrawl, "Sad" (1987)

    By Blogger wg, at 7:27 PM  

  • This is almost four years after 9/11. If Homeland Security means anything it should have meant an integrated and overwhelming federal response to this catastrophe.

    As for being caught unprepared, we had much more warning of this than we would for the potential attacks on a major urban area that Homeland Security is supposed to be anticipating.

    This should have been the showcase for the kind of overwhelming federal response that we should now be capable of. Instead, infamously, it seems like the evacuation of New Orleans needed to be decided on and carried through by obviously overtaxed (and heroic) local authorities. A serious federal and military response is only now beginning to take place.

    This is a massive failure. Michael Chertoff should be fired in the wake of such a catastrophic mishandling of the first major urban disaster after 9/11.

    [posted this comment originally on Red Dan's important thread at dk.

    By Blogger awol, at 9:41 PM  

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