As everyone, I have been following the events in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama of the past week with shock, horror, and sadness. The shock and horror are evident, the sadness is brought on by just how the events are being reported and handled by the folks who are supposed to be the leaders.
I have always been a positive person, my glass is half full. I try desperately to find the little bit of good in events such as this. And, frankly there are some. However the complete negative approach, particularly by the elected officials in New Orleans is incredible.
An example — The mayor, arguably under a lot of stress right now, says that it will take ten years to recover. He has voiced every negative possible about the tragedy, stressing the "high" numbers when asked about the deaths (10,000) or the "long" numbers when asked about drying out "months" to "10 years" when asked about recovery. He doesn’t need to list the thousands of businesses closed, he doesn’t need to recast the pictures we see every night.
Sorry, but from my seat, this is not the way a leader of a city under siege should react. He should find the most positive approaches and work with them.
Instead of yelling and blaming and generally covering his posterior, he should be talking about the resiliency of his city, about the good work of the people, about the strong hearts of his staff.
Did things go wrong — sure. They always do in cases like this. But things also will go right. By playing the blame game, he is setting an example for the people in his city. "Its not our problem, its someone else’s problem." (Pick a scapegoat — FEMA, Bush, the Governor, and the rest.)
FEMA and the feds don’t rebuild a city, its the guts and courage of the citizens that do that. They need now, more than ever, a leader, not a whiner. They need someone to step in and take charge and lead. The citizens of New Orleans will be beaten only by themselves, not by a hurricane.
New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Galvaston, Miami, Charleston — they have all had disasters, some arguably worse than this. But they all recovered, came back, and were better than before. They did it with people who were committed, hard working, and willing.
New Orleans can do that, too. But only if they decide to do so. The feds, FEMA, and the rest can’t do it for them.