Even from beautiful downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico, I'm slowly grasping the devastation that has hit our gulf states. I'm particularly partial to New Orleans because I spent a week there last year...such a beautiful city, with so many wonderful people. I hope they know we're all doing everything we can to help them.
The pictures are upsetting, the stories are gut-wrenching...and much like 9/11, I'm left trying to explain this catastrophe to my children, and helping them understand how important it is for everyone to chip in and help. Its always a fine line, explaining something as hugely terrible as this without frightening or upsetting them. Of course they discuss this stuff at school, but its up to mom to explain it and answer any questions they have.
The gas prices are ticking me off. I still don't think we're being told the entire story, and I still think the American people are being taken advantage of. The states that were hit the hardest have the highest gas prices. It just bugs the heck outta me. Not only that, but it looks like every industry is using the hurricane excuse to jack up prices. (Lumber is the first thing that comes to mind.) I just can't stand it when corporations try to profit from tragedy. (Like Haliburton)
And looting. These people have no food or water - what do you expect? Its survival at this point. I'd do it too if it meant feeding my children, and its going to continue until these people get what they need.
I read a story about a poverty-level mother in New Orleans, stranded, now homeless, with a premature infant who needed oxygen and other durable medical equipment to survive. The machines were operating on battery power, and the hospital turned her down because she had no insurance. They can barely keep their life support equipment powered and they're worried about revenue. Stuff like that makes me sick.
Another thing that's bugging me is my weak understanding that the Army Corps of Engineers was warning people about this, and our leaders (yeah I'll blame Bush) chose to CUT funding instead of increasing it to address the problem of the weakened levees. Now the entire city of New Orleans is under as much as 20 feet of water...was it really wise to divert funds from this effort? Didn't this weaken us further? Didn't they warn everyone that this would occur, especially during hurricane season? Ugh! Now the Corps is grasping at straws, hoping that dumping tons of sandbags will temporarily solve the problem.
Oh and Bush cut his vacation short. By three days. (eyeroll) He had time to go to a rally before he went out to fly over New Orleans. Priorities, Mr. President. He handled things very well immediately after 9/11. I'm hoping he'll pull it together for this.
Hundred year old beautiful buildings - gone. Hundreds dead.
I hope our leaders feel incredibly guilty about this. I hope they understand what they've done, as they see all these tens of thousands of people suffering. I also hope that we still have some international allies that like us enough to help us out. I hope we haven't alienated them all.
I know everyone's blogging about this, and I'm so far away I'll probably never understand what those people are going through, but its still worth noting that even in New Mexico, people are stepping up and donating and volunteering. We'll keep praying, keep giving, and keep going until we help fix it.
Let's get it done.
I hope I'm wrong about the funding issue. I also hope I'm wrong with my impression that our leader doesn't care enough. I further hope that you'll see our true American spirit in these coming months as we help rebuild.
I wanted to blog about something silly and upbeat, but it just doesn't feel like the time. I'll send some b-day wishes out shortly though...=)