16 September 2005

Hurricane Relief and Rhetoric

Last night, President Bush addressed the nation from New Orleans' Jackson Square. He says the federal government will do whatever it takes to restore the Gulf Coast. My question is at what cost? $50 billion has already been approved for relief, with potentially billions more on the way. Congress has reconvened after their vacation, with over a quarter of a trillion dollars "earmarked" for their home states. $400 million for two bridges in Alaska to connect a handful of citizens stands out greatest. Why can't they shift the focus of bringing home the bacon to helping those who need it most??

Some say that the government dragged their feet. I say they are correct. The failure was at the local and state level initially, then it snowballed into the federal level. Mayor Ray Nagin (D) of New Orleans asked where the federal government was. I ask where was he when everything began?? He had the opportunity to help his citizens, but decided to sit on his hands as a Category 4 storm barreled into the Big Easy.

New Orleans is slowly rising from the waters to become the booming area it was, with the French Quarter bustling, and businesses reopening, but still, there are over 100,000 displaced from their own homes. Nearly $1 billion has been raised in private donations. The effort on the private charities continues next month too. October 5 is Dine for America night. Restaurants across the country will donate their profits that evening to the American Red Cross.

Even sports is realizing the magnitude of the disaster. Atlanta Falcons running back Warrick Dunn, well-known in charitable arenas for building houses for low-income families, has challenged every NFL player except those on the New Orleans Saints to donate $5,000 to the Red Cross. That alone would raise over $8 million, more than the NFL offices donated.

The purpose of this is simple: everyone can say one thing and do another. I encourage you to say and do the same thing.

American Red Cross - http://www.redcross.org 800-HELP-NOW

Salvation Army - http://www.salvationarmyusa.org 800-SAL-ARMY

Catholic Charities USA - http://www.catholiccharitiesusa.org 800-919-9338

1 comment:

Ed Godard said...

Nothing more bothersome than the thought of the frickin Saints becoming America's Team. Oh, and Republicans spending the country into oblivion. That too.