Norma Sherry: Katrina's Wrath, America's Shame
Katrina's Wrath, America's Shame
By Norma Sherry
President Bush says "he's satisfied with the response" speaking of the apocalyptic horror in New Orleans, Mississippi, and Alabama. He says this with a smile on his face: smiling in the midst of death and destruction. If he were a news reporter he would be similarly dismissed for his cavalier response. But nay, reports on CNN and MSNBC and elsewhere are fighting tears and the lump in their throats is readily audible.
The bureaucrats keep telling us that the battle is enormous, the efforts gargantuan, and the troops are coming in force. In the meantime, people are dying,, staring to death, dehydrated from the lack of water and medically deprived of their needed insulin, dialysis and prescription medications. How is this possible in the richest country in the world? How is it that our president can land a plane and drive down the streets and we can't send in Army transporters and lift these people en masse out of their misery?
All of us sitting safely in our air conditioned homes safe from harm's way are asking the same questions. How is this gross incompetence accepted? Are we pawns in some monster's design to ignite a greater separation of the haves and have-nots here at home? What is the explanation for FEMA not allowing Red Cross trusts full of supplies to deliver them? Is Martial Law in our future? Why are we turning down donations from around the world?
The effects of Katrina's wrath are going to be felt - and are already being felt - by all of us. Gasoline prices are skyrocketing and the end is nowhere in sight. We've been warned to conserve natural gas. Food, produce, and paper goods are going to become increasingly more expensive due to shortages and the price of fuel to transport them. Once this trickle-down affect becomes more evident, law and order will be the order of the day.
Today we watched on our television screens as our president put his arms around a young girl and her pretty mother as they told him of their loss. He touchingly kissed the forehead of the child and for a moment - a very brief moment - one is touched. But then, just as easily one is transported to the reality: The senseless desperation of many, too many of us. We're reminded that there is a separation in this country: The rich and the destitute. There's hardly any in between anymore and the poor are growing poorer.
It is the poor of our country that found themselves trapped, unable to leave. Most, if they had televisions to listen to the news couldn't afford either the gas or the bus ticket out of town. You would think in this the richest country in the world, with trains, airplanes, and buses would have stepped up to the plate and helped our fellow Americans save their lives. The sight on my television set leaves me ill and sick to my stomach. Are we ever going to learn a lesson from this travesty?
I wonder why after all the times our government staved off bankruptcy to numerous airlines that the government didn't insist they in turn fill their planes with citizens of our Gulf States. I wonder why our president and this administration seem so incompetent, so utterly out of sync with the needs and care of its citizens. I wonder why our president keeps referring to all the displaced citizens and the states that have been decimated as "that part of the world", as if it weren't part of us.
Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans, in his deserved anger, said he would give "No more press conferences until he sees trucks for as far as the eye can see". He questions out loud why the help hasn't arrived, why they've waited so long - and he's not alone.
In the meantime, millions of us have contributed millions of dollars to the effort to save lives. But help seems to be moving at a snail's pace. Tears stream down the cheeks of the victims and those of us who sit mesmerized in front of our television sets. Everyone is crying. Everyone that is but our commander in chief who glibly tells us that he's satisfied with the response and efforts thus far. Those of us who breathe a sigh of relief and feel blessed that but for the grace of God go I can only wonder what would have happened if the country had been attacked.
There are many questions and we, the American public must insist on answers.
© Norma Sherry 2005
Norma Sherry is co-founder of TogetherForeverChanging.org, an organization devoted to educating, stimulating, and igniting personal responsibility particularly with regards to our diminishing civil liberties. She is also an award-winning writer/producer and host of the television program, The Norma Sherry Show on WQXT TV.
Email Norma: firstname.lastname@example.org