Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Enough: The Blame Game and Katrina

We respectfully ask that you read the entire post before commenting the first time, but for your convenience we have put a jump to the comments section right here, so that you can easily find them.

I honestly am not ready to do this. It seems somehow...inappropriate...to engage in the blame game over the greatest natural disaster of our time. But those on the left appear to be itching to blame Mr. Bush and the Federal Government for Katrina. I would ask my friends on the left the following questions from Hugh Hewitt's latest post:
What is the "police power?"

Where does it reside?

Is there a federal "police power?"

Can the federal government order the evacuation of a city when state and local officials have not done so?

Who has first call on a state's national guard?

Who controls a city's police department?

Can a federal official order a police department to deploy in strength to specific points within a city such as the Supredome or the Convention Center?

Can a federal official commandeer a city's supply of school busses, city busses, and city personnel?

I would strongly suggest (that's a therapist's nonjudgmental way of saying, "If you have half a brain in your head you'll do this.") you seek answers to these questions before making any more comments like my friend Joseph's. Hugh gives some remedial help for those of us non-lawyers who need it:

For starters, the police power resides in the states. There is no general federal police power. It is the power to take care of a citizenry's health, safety and morals. It was described by Chief Justice Taney in the Licensee Cases this way:

But what are the police powers of a State? They are nothing more or less than the powers of government inherent in every sovereignty to the extent of its dominion. And whether a state passes a quarantine law, as a law to punish offenses, as to establish courts of justice, or requiring certain instruments to be recorded, as to regulate commerce within its own limits, in every case it exercises the same power; that is to say, the power of sovereignty, the power to govern men and things within the limits of its dominion.

"To the extent of its dominion," is the key phrase. For the federal government to act in the face of a natural disaster, it's help must be requested and its guidance accepted by the state and local officials.

"States are accorded wide latitude in the regulation of their local economies under their police powers," the Supreme Court wrote in the 1976 case of New Orleans v. Dukes, and that wide latitude extends to every aspect of disaster planning (or non-planning.)

That sound you hear is the door slamming shut in your face as you try to gin up another attack on President Bush. This time, the door you are trying to open is standing on the thousands of dead across the Gulf Coast. The left should be ashamed of themselves. But they aren't. Nor will most of those on the left even come close to an apology when the truth comes out of how inept, and politically corrupt the Democrat Mayor, and the Democrat Governor, and the Democrat administration of New Orleans really was, and is. Oh, and don't leave the Democrat Senator Mary Landrieu out of this. Her hubby is the Lt. Governor, actively involved in emergency planning and disaster relief.

The hundreds of drowned buses stand as silent testimony to where much of the blame should reside for not getting people out of New Orleans. There will be plenty of blame to go around, and some will reside in the lap of the new, unwieldy bureaucracy (unwieldy and bureaucracy are what's know as an oxymoron) known as the Dept of Homeland Security. We are now seeing that President Bush should have followed his conservative instincts, and not agreed to the Left's wailing for a new government agency. Conservatives stand for limited government. Each time President Bush forgets this maxim, our nation pays the price. And who says I never criticize the President?

Mark - Liberty Just In Case

During times of crisis--we really simply must learn one basic principle.


I learned this long ago, that anything we do in those moments of extreme duress, emotional and physical times of suffering, will be based on that suffering and not on right responses and thought patterns.

In this one, I must say... I have to agree with Mark in that the blame game is going to buy us a whole lot of heartache and headache that we are going to be CHOOSING to accept and take hold of. In the context of who I am as a person, I won't be dealing in my comment with the politics and the rhetoric but with right reasoning and right response.

As a person who is familiar with both Mississippi and Louisiana it is not a hard thing to know, that this situation was coming. Any person could walk through the bayous, by the levees and the ocean and know that someday a catastrophe of a water kind is going to happen at some point. Could they have shored up the levees? Was there more that could have been done? There is *ALWAYS* more that can be done to prepare for a disaster. The work of preparations of things is *NEVER* done. Could money have been channeled for better preparation for such an event--perhaps. It is hard to know the exact nuances and needs of a country and a world that is so interconnected. Perhaps there was money that should have been put to better use, but how will this CHANGE where we are at now?? Not hard really, it won't. NOTHING we say or do will change what has already happened. But it can have a GREAT IMPACT on how we respond now. Are we simply talking, growling and screaming to make our OWN SELVES feel better? The question bears a little contemplation because all of it is probably not helping the victims. Its no longer really about the victims at all—its about us and our incessant need to have something important to say, some pearl of wisdom that only we can give!

Should we fall into a pit of "because", a blame game of "he said/she said", "they did/they did not" what we will be doing is taking away all of the love, commitment of time and good will from where it is MOST needed, which is in the ravaged areas and to the people that have been most traumatized. If they are angry and hurt--how will throwing more fuel on the fire possibly help them to heal? Not hard really, it won't.

While I believe we certainly could have mobilized better response times, could have certainly done better jobs of evacuation and relocation, feeding, housing, sanitation...I also recognize that the entire country was in a state of shock for the first few hours. Following that shock came the desire to HELP--yet overloading an area that was inundated with people (the old adage of too many cooks in the kitchen.. applies here) would have created yet more chaos.

In this great time of sorrow and shock we definitely need to mobilize the great minds to promote better education and better response patterns for just such a national disaster. However, how will the wailing and the gnashing of teeth NOW, make the plight of the survivors any easier? Not hard really, it won't.

Right now it is imperative that we remember what is and is NOT helpful to these people. Our physical support and assistance--is a help. Our infighting--is not a help. Our emotional support and access to counseling for grief and post- traumatic stress--is a help. To constantly replay their images on TV and harangue the medias with angry rhetorics--is not a help. Our spiritual support, prayers, replacement of bibles and spiritual reading, access to ministers, rabbis, enlightened teachers--is a help. Our B.S. of "God punished them!"--is not a help.

We simply MUST do what is helpful and refrain from doing what is not.

There are many things we must sort through, analyze and criticize. To everything there is a time to do that work. Recognizing that THIS is NOT the time and recognizing when the PROPER time to do this, will be a question we will face soon. The GREATEST question we face in THIS moment will be knowing what it means to truly love, to truly empathize and to truly live as compassionate beings in a nation that has been wracked with grief. Folks, it’s been 7 days since the Levee broke, 8 days since the hurricane hit. For some victims it has been only hours, even minutes since they returned to a clean bed, clean clothing, food, drink, medicine. How thoughtless have we become as a Nation and a People that we would so quickly turn our thoughts to placing blame and throwing partisan rhetoric? It is the greatest plight of our time, that we no longer give people the time to grieve, to heal and to move on, Seven days folks… one week and may we ALL THINK BEFORE WE SPEAK.

Nariel - Ancient Eyes for Current Times

I can add nothing of value save to ask for everyones help here. This is not the time for partisanship. Please pull together, and don't complain, but rather do something, anything, to help, if you have the means, please consider giving to the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, or Feed The Children. If the opportunity exists, open up your home, there can be no greater gift. This did not just happen to the Gulf states, this happened to us all, please put aside partisanship for a while, and help.

Zaphriel - Zaphriel's Blog
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