During a week when we have been glued to our TV's, computers and any source of news we could get about the tragedy on the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, what we haven't seen is a lot of examples of clear, decisive leadership we could get behind.
I'm not including the mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin in this list, he has done the best he could with very little to work with. He has been a good spokesperson for the plight of his city. He has brought some much needed attention to a situation that should not have lasted as long as it has. I liked his very "direct" quote,
"They don't have a clue what's going on down there," Nagin said. "They flew down here one time two days after the doggone event was over with TV cameras, AP reporters, all kind of goddamn -- excuse my French everybody in America, but I am pissed." ~Newsday:New Orleans Mayor Fumes Over Slow Reponse"
Nagin accused state and federal officials of "playing games" and "spinning for the cameras." He says he keeps hearing that help is coming, but "there's no beef."
The rest of the federal and state authorities have seemed to be just giving excuses why things weren't getting better. President Bush's speech did not really make me feel any better, but most can agree that he is not Reagan when it comes to public speaking.
But today, listening to Marketplace on NPR on the way home, I heard evidence of the type of kick-ass-no-excuses leadership we have not been seeing elsewhere, from Bill White, the mayor of Houston, in dealing with the influx of refugees.
Initially, the city thought it could house 25,000 in the Astrodome. But when 11,000 people were brought to the building, the city's fire marshal said "no more."
Mayor White overruled him and took in 4,000 more. But at that point it became clear that the dome was filled to capacity, causing the mayor to open up Reliant Arena and Reliant Convention Center.
Anticipating some legal problems from his decision to open up the convention center to evacuees, White said that he expected lawsuits from some groups that had planned their conventions there later this year.
"They can go ahead and sue," he said. "Let them explain to the American people why money is more important than lives."
Oh yeah! I wish he was my mayor! That's the kind of spirit that makes me proud of my country, and have some hope that things are going to improve. I wonder if he'd like to manage a certain call center...
Thanks for reading,
Purgatory: A place of suffering and torment with an unknown duration. In Roman Catholic Theology-the place where the dead are purified from their sins.
By Rage Against The Machine