Monday, February 18, 2008
When Will the Injury End
Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath exposed several unpleasant truths to the American people. Through it we became aware of a flawed and disintegrating infrastructure, as the levies for which the Army Corp of Engineers were responsible broke under the strain of a storm that had itself dissipated significantly before it arrived in New Orleans. We witnessed the incompetence and negligence of the FEMA head, whose credentials could not bear the subsequent scrutiny and demonstrated once again that The Decider is far more concerned with loyalty than with competence. We discovered anew how out of touch George W. Bush and his Cabinet members, including Condi "Shoe Shopping" Rice," could be in the face of human tragedy and misery. We learned a few lessons about the city and state governments of New Orleans, Louisiana as well. And I can't forget that we learned that for the media, when white people leave a closed supermarket with food in their hand, they are scavenging for necessary food, but when black people do it, they are looting. Of course, there was an up side, too. We witnessed extraordinary generosity and caring from persons and communities all over the country and the world. Individuals, worship communities, and even municipalities stepped up to alleviate the suffering and provide shelter for persons whom Katrina rendered homeless.
This week, however, what we have all been fearing is now confirmed. On Valentine's Day, 14 February, the Centers for Disease Control released a report that said the trailers FEMA issued for temporary housing to displaced persons have dangerously high levels of formaldehyde in them. This must be especially startling news for the thousands of families who are still living in these supposedly temporary dwellings.
Worse than adding insult to injury, FEMA's incompetence is adding injury to injury. The American people need to care enough to say "enough."