Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Aftermath

What else of any consequence is there to write about this week besides Hurricane Katrina and the devastation and heartbreak she has caused? Everything, and anything else, that passes for news seems inconsequential and hollow. My reaction to the news that Saddam Hussein's trial may start next month was a "so what?" Should there or would there be any need for a trial of this foreign dictator when the real villain, George Walker Bush, the architect of the war which led to Saddam's ouster, is still at large and capable of wreaking more havoc than that caused by Katrina?

As several editorialists have pointed out, this most recent of tragedies has served to open the eyes of even the most jaded of Americans to the discrepancies of the haves and have nots. Living paycheck to paycheck, unable to afford health insurance, life insurance, adequate homeowner insurance has been glaringly laid bare in the aftermath of this most horrendous of natural disasters. People, like a 92 year old woman, clinging desperately to the shreds of her life, continuing to refuse to leave all that she has left, the remnants of her home, show us just how little many actually have. And still, this serves as just one more political football for the gang of four in D.C. An opportunity to try and lay blame at the feet of those in charge of the cities hardest hit, and, unfortunately they have managed to politicize this as they have everything else.

This last was made ever so clear to me this week when a friend kept repeating that the Mayor of New Orleans didn't have a plan. That the levees had been built to only withstand a Category 3 storm. That it was NOT the responsibility of the Federal Government to make sure that all were evacuated safely, or that all precautions that should have been taken were. Obviously I was not in agreement and what not only saddened me about his argument, but angered me as well, was his continuing support for a President who sees no need to be a leader. A man who cannot cut his vacation short to return to the nation's capital and oversee and direct the government's role during this crisis, where hundreds of thousands are suffering. Yet he saw fit to cut another vacation short in order to try and subvert a brain dead woman's right to die. It is painfully clear that George Bush does not know how to prioritize. Nor, does he care. His one photo/press op was given over to the head shaking, hand-wringing announcement that Senator Trent Lott has "lost everything you know".

Do those thousands who do not have Senator Lott's resources care? Are they waiting with bated breath to see the news coverage of Bush rocking again on Senator's Lott's piazza, as he stated he was looking forward to doing, when all this is behind us? There are thousands who will consider themselves lucky if they are able to reclaim any part of what used to be their lives and their property. After all, FEMA funds have been cut as well as monies which the Army Corps of engineers had sought in order to do the much needed work on the levees of New Orleans. All those monies so desperately needed now in our own country's days of crisis were, to George Bush, more important to his war efforts in a country where democracy is an unknown word and seemingly an unwanted commodity.

We humans are, however, a resilient group, and as Shakespeare said, this too shall pass. Will things ever return to normal though? To this question some will answer with a resounding yes, and yet, there are others whose lives have been so shattered that they may never feel normal again. Too many deaths, too much destruction, too much trauma will make it impossible for many to regain their lives. Many will never return to their home states choosing, instead, to move on and try and make new lives. Others will return, pick up the pieces and rebuild on familiar ground.

Biloxi and New Orleans will once again become vibrant cities. Many people will return and life will go on. For some it will be without those they loved and cared for. For some it will be in new homes whose walls are ripe for gathering new memories and holding new generations. For many, those who were spared more than others, there will be the mopping up and drying out. The setting to rights small items which may have been misplaced or situated high enough to avoid the water pouring in through breached windows and doors. Sadly, they are the great minority.

Mother Nature has passed by in all her great fury. For brief hours she wreaked havoc leaving behind a trail of tears. Katrina was, and now, is no more. It will be years before it's legacy of destruction leaves us in peace, and it will take untold years for us to, as we invariably do, rise like the Phoenix from the ashes of all this destruction. However, the worst part of Katrina's legacy will be the echoes of our government's shoddy leadership.

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