Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Choices

OK, for starters, I haven’t wanted to write about this subject, since I feel it has been the proverbial dead horse that has been beaten and beaten.  But with this being the one year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and with all of the stories and same old arguments, I just can’t help myself.

However, before I get started, let’s get one thing straight.  What happened there in New Orleans was definitely a tragedy.  I too saw the images and video and felt deeply and strongly for the plight of most of the people, and was saddened by it.  But let’s really be truthful here for a moment about what happened, why it happened and the lessons EVERYONE should have learned from it.


For starters, the lesson that EVERYONE should have learned and really should have already known is that you CANNOT count on the government to save you during a crisis of that magnitude.  That is where personal accountability and responsibility for self comes in.  It would not have mattered who was in power, where it happened or whether it was a hurricane or nuclear device detonated by terrorists, the outcome would have largely been the same.  The simple fact is the government is a huge bureaucracy and will always be such.  Does the federal government bear some of the blame for the crisis?  Of course, but only a small part.  They performed their job of warning EVERYONE along the coast a full five days prior to Katrina making landfall.  These warnings included details such as: Massive structural damage, heavy loss of life, and even the fact that trees would basically become non-existent in the areas it struck.  Why were the warnings not heeded?  The vast majority of the blame lies with Mayor Nagin and Governor Kathleen Blanco.  How does Mayor Nagin explain the photos of thousands of school buses underwater?  He doesn't.  How do he and Blanco explain not calling for a mandatory evacuation before Katrina struck?  They don't.  A mandatory warning a mere 18 to 24 hours prior to landfall could have made a huge difference.  President Bush called Nagin the morning Katrina struck and urged him to issue a mandatory evacuation, but Nagin refused.  In my opinion, the Feds deferred way too much power to the lowly mayor.  Then why all the finger pointing at the Feds?  Because it's easy.  Remember when you were a child and were caught doing something wrong?  Do you remember pointing the finger at another kid and saying that he did it, or that they did it too?  Sounds like the situation that occurred there.  Mayor Nagin and Governor Blanco were caught being a cog in the bureaucracy and resting on their laurels while The Big Easy sank, so they had to have a scapegoat. 


Now let’s discuss the subject of evacuations.  I realize that a lot of people didn’t have the means to evacuate.  Or at least the elderly and sick didn’t.  The true fact is that most people didn’t have the desire to evacuate.  This again goes back to personal accountability and responsibility.  Say a major hurricane is bearing down on my town and I decide that I am not going to go through all of the hassle of evacuating for one reason or another.  Then, the hurricane hits.  Now I am stranded and countless emergency workers now have to risk their lives to save my lazy butt.  Once, I am saved, I then begin to gripe about why no one has done anything to help my plight.  Well, whose fault is it that I am there in the first place?  I am so sick and tired of the same old arguments about race and class (which still means race, poor white people are not included in this argument either), when everything really comes down to personal accountability.  I am accountable and responsible for my own safety and well being.  Not the government.  Of course, I don’t always have my hand out for everything under the sun either.  In this country, you can be anything you wish to become, or you can stay and suckle the government teat all of your life.  The choice is yours, but it is a CHOICE!

Brian Williams interviewed a left wing professor, Michael Eric Dyson, last night on NBC’s Katrina special.  Dyson actually opened the interview by saying “The people in New Orleans were left behind long before the vicious winds and violent waters of Hurricane Katrina came along to wash them away."  In what way?  Were they forced to live there?  Were they forced to not finish school and get a decent job?  I don’t think so.  Again, life is a choice, yours to make. Now don’t get me wrong.  Racism in ANY form is wrong.  However, if a person places themselves in certain life situations, then that is a choice they make.  We ALL have the same chances, whether anyone will admit it or not.  The thing is what do we do with those choices?  If we are content to just sit around with our hands out like everyone owes us something, then that is the life we choose.  But don’t blame me for your life choices.  I have worked hard for each and everything that I have.  That was my choice.

Williams went on and actually asked Dyson if one of the reasons that most people didn’t leave was because of “government checks”, to which Dyson replied “right”.  Am I the only one that sees something perversely wrong with this statement?  I am going to take my chances (not to mention the chances of my children who have no say in whether we stay or go) for a government handout?  How’s that for irony?  I won’t leave because the government owes me a check, then I decry the government for not doing enough.  Wow, it’s not like I haven’t depended on the government for my very meager existence up to that point.  What a load of crap.  That is the ultimate in irony!  Williams then asks if transportation was also an issue, to which Dyson replied “yes”.  I will repeat my comment about the hundreds and hundreds of buses underwater AFTER Katrina struck. 

Dyson, like I said is very left wing, as if that is surprising to anyone.  In 2005, he wrote a book about Bill Cosby, who has came out over the past few years and finally called things as they really were.  In an interview with the New Your Slimes (what a surprise) he stated 'None of us want our children to be murderers or thieves. But Cosby never acknowledges that most poor blacks don't have a choice about these things.'  Don’t have a choice?  This is just more excuse making.  At the risk of repeating myself EVERYONE HAS A CHOICE!!!!!!  This is a cop out.  When are we going to finally get to the point that we call things as they are and stop making excuses for others?  Life is full of choices, the decisions are yours to make.  I have already made mine.