August 29, 2007

Two years ago today I was sitting in my boyfriend's apartment in Lafayette, Louisiana. I huddled down with my children in front of the television and watched Katrina, in a matter of hours, change my life and the lives of millions of others forever. I watched the screen and cried all day, wondering if my friends were alive, wondering if my home was gone, wondering who or what would be left when the winds and water went away.

A day later I watched again, slack jawed, tears running down my face, as thousands of human beings were treated like cattle, hungry, thirsty, dying in the heat, waiting for someone to help them. I watched the local politicians get on television, crying, begging and screaming for help from the federal government. I watched the federal politicians play golf and issue a couple of declarations, while turning down international aid. I watched as Canadian Mounties arrived to help before our own military was deployed.

And here we are, two years later. Our city and region have become a fashionable stop off on campaign trails, but little more. Neighborhoods and cities still lie in ruins. Once again, I am watching the screen, watching videos of the recovery progress so far, and not much has changed.

In the time since, volunteers have come by the thousands, offering their time and money to help rebuild. It is a pathetic and infuriating truth that our government has not followed their example. Local and state politicians wring their hands and gnash their teeth at Washington in hopes that the voters will think they're "doing something". Federal politicians just don't give a damn. We're a small, poor state, with only 9 electoral votes. We don't count, basically. Do you think that if Los Angeles had been devestated by a tsunami they'd still be living in FEMA trailers two years later? What about New York?

Douglas Brinkley (who, I might add, has since left New Orleans himself) has a great opinion piece here called "Reckless Abandonment".

What have we gotten in the two years since Katrina? Empty words filling jars of empty promises. Just ask our esteemed President:

This is America, for god's sake. What are we doing? What if this were your home? Everyone, every single one of us, should do somehing. Sign the petition for the Gulf Coast Recovery Act. Contact your Congressman and ask them where all that foreign aid went. Don't let our beautiful city die, and the people who make it so unique fade into oblivion and be forgotten. I am these people. You are these people. Our response to Katrina as a nation is a direct reflection of our values, our compassion, and our unity.

"The ultimate measure of a person is not where they stand in moments of comfort and convenience, but where the stand in times of challenge and controversy." -Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

29 August 2007

1 Comment:

Pablo said...

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