Saturday, September 03, 2005

I love this picture.


I think this is just a neat picture. It's from MSNBC. The woman in the wheelchair is 105, the girl holding her hand is 5. And then there are a bunch of hard-working rescue/relief workers there making sure they get out safely.

I've become glued to my television and the more I see and hear, the more I'm unimpressed with the current leadership in Washington. There are allegations that plans were ready to go much sooner but got stopped at the White House. There's Bush himself, already in Texas, but still takes two days to end his vacation. Lori said it perfectly when she said "Clinton would have been there on Monday with the people." At the very least, it should really be painfully obvious now to some how un-media savvy this current administration is. The facts surrounding whether or not they botched the entire thing, I hope someone has finally woken up and taken notice of how important perception is.

Sure, it's very easy to mobilize a local TV station helicopter and then uplink that live footage to MSNBC. It's easy for one Fox News reporter to fly in with 1,000 bottles of water. It's easy for CNN to dispatch crews from Atlanta. But even though things were happening, the people making them happen were far too silent. This is where the Republican idea of giving more power to the states (compared to the Democrats' desire to give more power to the federal government) really fails.

The same thing, surprisingly enough, is happening at my church. Our Senior Pastor recently announced his resignation. He did it in a really poor matter, basically giving no notice whatsoever. It's really opened wide a bad rift and hurt a lot of people, made a lot of people mad, and make a lot of people really confused about what's going on. And that's just the ones that have actually stuck around. One estimate says that depending on how you handle such a situation, a church of our size with a dynamic leader on which too much emphasis has been placed will see a 25 to 75(!!!)% decrease in attendance once that leader leaves.

The powers that be, again, fail to understand perception, basically letting the exiting Senior Pastor (and now the small dissenting faction most likely responsible for his departure in the first place) dictate the show. Their plays at transparency and increased communication are a good start, but no actual change is occuring as a result, at least not at the speed at which people would expect. I fear that far too few are using it as a learning experience to make changes for the future.

We'll see what happens in the gulf coast states. The devastation is just incredible. Most of the people who are upset about the lack of support they are receiving are also unaware of just how dramatic it is. It sucks when your only contact with the outside world is the camera crew that comes to your door, but I'm not sure these people realize how lucky they are to have a door for someone to knock on, even if they are running low on food, have no water and no electicity.

I know it's probably frowned on in some circles because it makes them objective, but thank God for the media who have taken matters into their own hands, not just shipping cameramen and reports, but food as well. This is just frigging insane, and it's good to see people putting humanity ahead of their jobs.

Lots of countries have been offering support. The ones that have really made news were countries like Australia and Japan who have gone ahead and made large contributions to the Red Cross after the State Department wasn't responding to them quickly enough. Other countries have offered help, like France and Germany. The Netherlands, too, but they're also going on camera to deride us for not having done more to protect our cities in the first place. But the two that really stand out the most to me are Sri Lanka, still cleaning up from the Tsunamis, who gave $25,000 and urged all Sri Lankan doctors in the US to avail themselves to the efforts, and Cuba, where Castra was offered to send 1,100 doctors and something like 25 tons of medicine. (I know we're all pissed at Castro, but I hope this embargo ends in my lifetime, it looks like a really beautiful place to visit and the Cuban food I've had here is amazing, so it's gotta be phenomenal over there.)

As much great stuff is now happening, I have to ask... Jesse Jackson -- why are you such a frigging idiot? I swear, the worst thing that has happened to race relationships is this man. I don't even understand what credentials he has anymore other than media whore. He's on TV saying "We are not refugees. We are Americans." Uh... refugees is a perfectly acceptable term. No one said they weren't Americans. And what's this "we" crap? I doubt you're enduring any of the conditions these people are having to deal with and not every person who got trapped on a roof was black. Shut up, shut up, shut up. Let intelligent black people speak instead, who actually want to improve race relations. I won't name names because I'm not really familiar with a lot of them, but I know there are many influential black people far smarter than you, Jesse. Racist and black. Now that's just sad.

But let's not end on a sad note. The Convention Center and Superdome have been emptied. American Airlines has made at least one flight out full of people, and they let them bring their pets. Air Trans teamed with two NFL players/brothers. The brothers purchased supplies and secured many more donations. Air Tran donated the plane and fuel and the crew donated their time. They filled the hold of the plane, and then filled every seat on the plane as well with supplies.

I'm still hoping that this is ultimately considered successful. We've a lot to learn from this tragedy, and with scientists saying it's only going to get worse, hopefully we learn enough to be far more prepared in the future.
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