Saturday, September 03, 2005

A letter to George W

Dear Mr. President,

I am a Republican, and I am deeply ashamed at the government's insipid response to Hurricane Katrina. Your personal involvement took too long. Your speech writers did an implorable job with your first national address. You and the state senators/congressmen should have been onsite immediately to lead the recovery and security efforts. Rudy Giuliani would have been there, I guarantee it.

Mr. President, you squandered an opportunity to rise to a great leadership position. And I'm pissed, Sir.

The cycling criticism about this week's relief efforts are warranted. Some folks may be playing politics, but for the most part the objections hold merit.

Kanye West's comments were idiotic and damaged the sincere donation efforts by the artists and NBC network. But he's just a celebrity. Too caught up in himself so he voiced a personal opinion rather than work for the greater cause.

That being said, your terminally slow response to help the people of New Orleans opened the door for that kind of comment. Do you hate black people? I don't think so. Were you ridiculously late in addressing the problems and getting help onsite? Yes, absolutely. Am I stunned by the government's lethargy earlier this week. You bet, especially when this storm was a Category 5 rampage on course for a direct hit to New Orleans for almost a week before it hit. C'mon! What was FEMA and the LA state lawmakers doing! Aren't they paid to be prepared?

The busses were late. The meals were late. The security and rescue personnel were late. In the corporate world, the managing directors of these programs would have been FIRED.

I certainly hope that you take the time to evaluate the response processes from this last week and fix the system. Your advisors and operations personnel need to be replaced with people who are skilled at emergency response, operational leadership and PR.

We are a great nation. We have plenty of people and resources to address this catastrophe. We just needed the leadership to make it happen.

I am profoundly disappointed. And ashamed. Because I like to believe that what happened last week is not who we are.