We can't wait for the aliens to land

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  1. I’m curious as to what hurricane disaster in history gave people the impression that the federal government does everything right when needed after a strike. After Andrew, there were lots of complaints about things not being done fast enough. I understand that waiting to be rescued from your roof is a pressing need, but what is it that had built up America’s expectation that more was supposed to have gone right?
    What experience with disasters made people think that something magical was supposed to happen at the federal level?
    Not sure if you have already seen this or brought it up somewhere, but Popular Mechanics wrote a good analysis of the actual events after Katrina.

  2. That’s a good question, actually. Where did this expectation come from?
    Some folks would probably say that New Orleans (more so than the other areas along the devastation route last year) had a greater tendency toward an expectation that the government will take care of them.
    I don’t think that’s necessarily true, actually. There were a lot of people who didn’t evacuate the city who were not poor – for a number of reasons. (One big reason was pets.) However, the vast majority of people did leave in front of the storm.  It was an enormous evacuation.
    DH (Dear Husband) thinks that this expectation was set up by the media’s coverage of New Orleans, but while that might answer some of the current attitude, it doesn’t explain what happened there: a shelter of last resort that was not equipped, and to which people who did not leave came without provisions.
    It’s a tough question. I’m pretty sure, though, that for the government to meet this recent magic rescuer expectation, it would have to be vastly larger than it is already – and size, regulations, and stratification are already unmanageable.
    Just my two bits….

  3. I think, at least from what I hear around town here, that the “expectation” that the Feds had a “responsibility” came from the Fed’s own actions and words in a roundabout way. Bear with me here, because this is what I hear a lot of.
    “We are rebuilding a school that we already built once in Iraq. We will rebuild it again.” This from a report I heard on CBS news some night this week while packing boxes. Can’t remember whether we bombed the already built school or if they said insurgents of some stripe had. Either way, there were various politicos and army brass vowing to rebuild it. The report went on about “where your tax dollars are going in the ongoing effort to rebuild Iraq.”
    Our tax dollars. Rebuilding Iraq. I think most of the people I’m hearing see this and say, “Hey, if our tax dollars and our guys can rebuild that, why can’t they rebuild THIS.” The overwhelming sentiment here, and interestingly based on this administration’s own horn tooting about successes in Iraq, is that “we” can do anything.
    The second issue is the opposite side of that coin. Why are we doing that when New Orleans needs “our” tax dollars and needs “our” schools rebuilt because “our” Corps of Engrs screwed up? It seems the ultimate injustice to many as tax paying Americans.
    We have politicians who have used the word “safe” about a million times in the last few years. Saying over and over that their primary job is to keep Americans safe has backfired, at least in this region. Many people feel a disconnect between what’s being said about keeping us safe and what’s actually happening. As a result, a lot of people in this region feel that they are not part of America, and this is actually the way they’re putting it. I might add that the Louisiana National Guard sustained huge losses in Iraq, and those who have lost family members in a cause they truly believe in, simply cannot believe that their government doesn’t care about them. I’ll never forget the face of the kid from the Navy medical corps whose house was washed away and was told by FEMA that he didn’t qualify for any help because he was in Iraq at the time of the storm. He was stunned, as were those of us listening.
    I think it’s at least a two level issue. The first being people believed what was being said re:keeping America safe and automatically transferred that to “at home or abroad” only to find that it seemingly only means abroad, and this coupled with the promises on Jackson Square only reinforced that belief that the Feds would help in as substantial a way as they are helping in Baghdad. The second being that many feel it’s their tax dollars that are being sent out of this state every year (and indeed, out of the country) and that now some of it should come back in the form of safe levees, etc.
    I heard a woman in a restaurant one night saying to a friend, “Well, at least the children in Iraq will have some school choices, but mine don’t.”

  4. The Corp of Engineers is not to blame for a levee that was built to withstand a category 3 hurricane couldn’t stand up to a category 4. Katrina was too much for it. The rest of you comment I agree with you, there could have been, and should of been way more organization then and more tax dollar should be re-directed from overseas project to re-build now.

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