Sunday, September 18, 2005

Personal Accountability

did "I" do that...

This is going to be a long one, so fetch a cup of coffee, tea, or soda and sit back. You might also want to earmark this day on your calendars.
I'm a stubborn, proud and independent woman. I don't easily admit, I was wrong or that I may have over-reacted. Or that I may have jumped to conclusions without having all the facts. However, out of respect for all those who suffered through my rants and raves about the ineptness of the government in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina, I feel I'm obligated to own up to my mistakes. Yes, David, that means YOU!
In the days immediately following Katrina I was incensed that the government had failed the people of New Orleans so miserably. How dare they be so unprepared and slow witted about coming to the rescue of those poor people? No need to repeat it, you know what I said. In my defense, I was not alone in my indignation. It would be fair to say the majority of the country, nay, the world, shared my outrage.
Having now had some time to reassess the situation, I see that I may have placed far too much responsibility on the Federal government (read Bush) and not nearly enough on all the parties involved. So, here is my current, and I believe more objective opinion.
Lets start at the bottom. We as individuals have certain responsibilities for ourselves and our families. It's understandable to need to look to others for help, but it should only be after we have exhausted our own resources. There were people in New Orleans who could have evacuated and chose not to. Their refusal to acknowledge the seriousness of the situation and their bad judgment, later led to a situation that was avoidable. I am poor, folks. I don't really have the means to pick up and leave at a moments notice. But you can bet your bippy, if I'd been told ,there is a major storm headed this way, it will be bad, really bad, you need to leave. If I'd had to beg, borrow, or write a bad check, my butt would have been outta there. If I had no vehicle I'd have called the city, the mayor, the church, friends, family, somebody until I found a way to leave. So, saying people didn't leave because they were poor, is a 'poor excuse'. Sure there were those who literally couldn't go, because of being an invalid, or sick. But those were few. The rest could have gone. One way or another.

Next there was the local government. The mayor and the city council of New Orleans were the worst of all. They failed the people and they failed the city. They were told repeatedly to get those folks out of the city. They did not. They did not use all the resources available, and what they did use, they used too late. The majority of the responsibility lies squarely on their shoulders. No excuses acceptable.

Then you have the state. When it became apparent to the governor that the mayor wasn't going to step up to the plate, it was her responsibility to step in and take over. She didn't. No one in the state government did a thing. Except talk. Hopefully the voters of LA. will remember the actions, or rather inaction of these people come election time.

Finally you have the Federal government. Realistically, the President shouldn't have had to do anymore than the did (ggggrrrr biting tongue). There were people who's very JOB was to handle emergency situations. They failed miserably. Every single one of them should be held accountable.
Don't get me wrong I'm not giving Bush a free pass (did your really think I would). He failed too. But, where he failed was BEFOREHAND. He appointed people to jobs they had no clue how to perform. This is a habit with the president. Then when a crisis arises, and they can't do the job, he refuses to own up to it and fire them. Well in the past he has. Clearly, stay the course wasn't a line that was going to work here. I suspect he'd have found himself run out of town, tarred and feathered had he used that same tired old line in this instance.
He still hasn't gotten the grasp of the situation or what's needed, or he wouldn't have appointed Karl Rove to be the so called 'czar' over the rebuilding undertaking. Karl Rove is a political operative. He has no experience in overseeing the contracting and construction of an operation of this magnitude. If there is one thing I am confident of where Rove is concerned it is that he will make Michael Brown look like a genius, and he will make Haliburton look like a frugal non-profit organization. He is without question the wrong man for the job. What is needed is someone with business savy, and constuction experience. This is not a trial and error excercise. There is a great deal of money and many people's lives involved. I personally don't know who the best person is to head up the venture, but then I don't have to do I?
I could respectfully suggest Gov. Bob Riley of Alabama. Now there's a man who took his job seriously and did what needed to be done. AHEAD of time. Of course right now he's busy trying to be a decent governor, not that the good folks of my home state are making it easy for him. I can tell you this, he may be a republican, but if he ever runs for president, you can be assured he already has my vote.
Okay, I'll shut up now. Don't expect to see anything like this again anytime soon. I'm not good at eating crow. Tell you the truth, it tastes a lot like chicken.


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