We sent the following letter our Senators (Hilary Clinton and Charles Schumer) as well as our Representative (Sue Kelly). A copy was also sent to CNN. We will get a response from our representatives but it is more likely going to be a “canned” response. We are in a crisis and we have no leaders.
For the past several days we have watched in horror as fellow Americans in New Orleans, Louisiana have been forced to live in conditions that we wouldn’t even let animals live in. The delay in giving the type of aid and assistance necessary to alleviate these horrendous conditions can be placed directly at the feet of the current Administration in Washington, DC.
The conditions which exist now in New Orleans are indicative of the attitudes of the Bush White House. Mr. Bush was quick to take us into war against Iraq but he’s a day late and a dollar in short when it comes to helping our own American citizens.
While we spend billions of dollars for a dubious war in Iraq, and have sent thousands of our young people to fight in this war, our own citizens go wanting. Now a national disaster, one that we have never seen in our history, has plunged this country into a nightmare, the proportions of which cannot be described.
President Bush’s response, as noted in today’s New York Times, was a day late. It was an unimpressive speech and one that showed that he has no connection with the real country.
It should also be noted that Congress has failed in its responsibilities to its constituents. As was noted on CNN, Congress rushed back to Washington to pass a law which interfered with one person’s family. But now, with Congress in session, where are the leaders of Congress. We applaud Senator Landrieu from Louisiana for being with the people of Louisiana but we have neither seen nor heard from either her colleague in the Senate or either of the two Senators from Mississippi. In a time when leadership is desperately needed, those whom we have elected are nowhere to be seen.
It is true that the National Guard’s first role is to support the Army and the Air Force. But the National Guard has always been the force that states could count on in times such as these. But our National Guard has been stretched to the limit; just as our Armed Forces have been stretched.
The looting and lawlessness that now seems to pervade New Orleans could have been avoided if the New Orleans city police and Louisiana state police did not have to take on tasks for which they were under-equipped and under-manned.
Second, why did this Administration not budget enough money to reinforce the levees surrounding New Orleans? From what I understand funds to accomplish reinforcement were requested for the past 8 years but New Orleans received only about 10% of the requested amount. This disaster has been seen and modeled in countless computer simulations. We knew what would happen; why did we not work to prevent it?
This disaster, far beyond anything ever imagined, will take more than simple compassion to resolve; it will take action not only by individuals and the private sector but by the government, elected by the people of this country to provide leadership.