It’s been two weeks since our nation’s latest tragedy unfolded before our eyes with images and stories abound on the Internet and television. This one was much more devastating for our psyche since it also raised the specters of problems that most of the country felt had been solved by the sweeping signature of President Johnson several decades before and made us question whether or not our country is prepared to handle national disasters.
Katrina decided to suck out a window pane from my second story loft and take away my electricity for two days, frying the air conditioner in the process. There are many people that would have hoped that what Bets and I went through was the worst of their problems. I cannot blame any one government entity for the catastrophe that resulted; there was some form of failure at every level. We should not be concerned with finger pointing until we’ve dealt with aiding those that have lost their worldly possessions and need help restoring some level of stability to their lives.
Government creates laws to be followed. This is not to say that many will choose to follow them. One would hope that it would not take a law to have people treat their fellow man with dignity and respect. You would have also hoped that it would not have taken a hurricane making landfall as a category 4 to shine a light on the two poorest congressional districts in the United States and problems that many in this country like to pretend do not exist.
I have always been amazed at our country’s ability to rise up and meet a challenge, however devastating the causes of it may be. I hope our country is ready to rise up and maintain a sustained attack on the biggest war has affected our shores for longer than any other: the war on poverty. There have been many soldiers in this battle, some of whom we’ve lost along the way before it was their time. There is a need to remember the charge being led by Dr. King; there is a need to focus on providing legitimate long term solutions that allow for the hole of poverty to be climbed out of.
The biggest concern that exists right now this is that we are dealing with the short term problem (Katrina evacuees) now so long as the cameras are focused on the devastation. I hope that we do not neglect the problems that already existed in our towns and cities before Katrina. Let us not forget the soup kitchens, homeless shelters and existing programs set up to help people at this time. If charitable organizations say that they have received enough for their needs, check around the corner and make sure that the needs of the local organizations are being met. Take some time out and help area children if you can.
Let us not waste this chance to put the country’s best foot forward. Our fellow citizens affected by the storm have lost a great deal, however they have given America a great gift; a chance to rectify the situation for many. Let us hope that this opportunity is seized and not wasted.