Katrina, the Middle-Class Scylla and Charybdis

With two contributors here from Louisiana and one with strong ties; Katrina money, the red tape tape concerning it, the national misconception about Louisianians, and the general health of the Gulf Coast states are points of contention.

A little personal history, prior to Katrina hitting, my family and I evacuated to Georgia from Gulfport, Mississippi, my former residence. Due to the requirements of my job I had to return to Gulfport almost immediately. Leaving my family in Alabama, probably the hardest thing I ever had to do.

I have been several places around the world which were war torn and I can tell you, the state of the Gulf Coast was like nothing I have ever seen before. The amount of devastation, carnage, and broken lives was surreal and indescribable, especially witnessing it first hand and on the deck.

When the national coverage started, I was shocked to see what was happening in my birthplace of New Orleans. And the rumors, ranging from civilians shooting at helicopters that were trying to rescue them, to snipers shooting drug addicts that were attempting to pillage local hospitals for pharmaceuticals, to armed posses of New Orleanian residents roaming the streets looking to kill or capture looters and lawbreakers. Most are true in one fashion or another.

What was hardly covered was the kindness and the human compassion that was extended from stranger to stranger. Bonds of friendship that would have otherwise not formed if it were not for Katrina. The faith based and community groups who showed up to help rebuild and the military, for its incredible first response. None of this garners ratings.

All we have been privy to, thanks to the media, is welfare rats whining and wanting their FEMA checks, abuses by our local officials, the "Chocolate City," looting, a corrupt police force, and Spike Lee's ignorant movie which only assisted in propagating the media myths. Some of this is wholeheartedly true and other facets are a representation of a small minority, not the real story in its entirety. What was not reported, as often is the case, was the suffering of the middle American in this embattled region. I am here to tell you first hand, they're in the majority, not those you see on the television or read about in print.

These people are just like you; middle to average incomes, homeowners, 2.5 kids, a dog, they pay their taxes, they work, and they suffer because of partisan politics and games. Are they stupid for living where they do? Let me ask you this, are they any less stupid than someone who lives in California, close to the San Andres fault, the Mid-West in tornado alley, or the North East being subjected to blistering weather and snow storms? My humble opine is no, they aren't stupid. This is their home, it is what they know and love. A place full of rich heritage, decent people, and a fantastic culture. Something worth conserving.

Why do I bring this up? It was a comment by OP, on another post, and an article from MSNBC, that I just read that inspired this.

OP made the point, through an unofficial source (Whatever that means.) about Jindal being afraid of inciting political warfare with the WH and Congress by not accepting stimulus money and how that might effect the release of Katrina money. Funds which have already been set aside for the residents of the Gulf Coast and they have yet to receive. Keep in mind, there is plenty of money to go around, but accessing it is the problem as pointed out in this August 2007, article in Reason magazine. This problem still persists.

The whole point is not to gather support for the people affected by Katrina, your mind is already made up one way or another. This is about political noise generated by the government, which gets nothing accomplished, and the media sensationalism over the topic du jour. The truth and reality always walk the middle line, and not in the moderate sense either.

This applies to this particular blog, we do ride the right side of things because we are right wingers. Nevertheless, we are Americans first, and the atrocity of government mismanagement coupled with the vile displays of media sensationalism is what drives the fight here. The Katrina episode showed why our system is broken, it exemplified the hand out mentality of those who are not deserving and the taking away from those who rightfully are, the declination of an over-sized government bureaucracy which is still failing, and an abysmal dereliction to report the truth. Even with this evidence, our elected officials, supposed greatest minds, and media titans still continue dragging us down this hole.

Remember, we have them outnumbered almost 1,000-to-1 and our votes do count. If they continue with their malfeasance and treachery, vote them out on their collective asses. Get involved, stay informed, and do something. We may not always enjoy having these choices and freedoms, so exercise them and don't take them for granted. In other words, be an American.


Anonymous said...

First , you made an accurate depiction to the best of your ability of what the “real story” is surrounding Katrina and for that I thank you. I believe that Katrina (haven’t you grown to really despise the name Katrina and what it represents) is a perfect example of the lack of accountability for government spending. I will never forget when FEMA advised us that we did not qualify for a grant for contents lost. I asked them why. I was told that we just did not meet the criteria. Ok, no insurance money, loss of everything you own but you do not qualify. Hmmmm What more do you want? I personally witnessed a grant check to a person in the amount of $10,000. I just could not get it. It just didn’t make sense. This person qualified for grant money and had not worked out of pure laziness for some time before Katrina. Let’s see, a person who works, i.e. pays taxes that somehow trickled down to help finance the disaster relief funding is unable to receive a grant but a person who is lazy and unemployed gets a quick check. When asked the question “why” absolutely no reason was given.

Where is the accountability? I truly feel in my heart that a large part of over spending, unnecessary spending and money not being spent where it should be spent has a great deal to do with our deficit. The bottom line is that the government (in general terms) is there to work for us yet they have complete control over where our money goes.

As a school child would say, “That’s not fair!” Vote people, go the poles and vote.

Critical Thinker said...

This is a story I have heard one to many times. These were the sort of things the media needed to be reporting and the government should have been straightening out.


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