Tuesday, July 8, 2008

FEMA To The Rescue (Again)

I was told that my last posting was too long, so this will be a short one. I spent Independence Day out in the heartland, near Cedar Rapids, where everyone was effected by the flood to one extent or another. If the mood there can be expressed in one word, the word would be "frustration." Over 2,500 homes are simply gone. Not just uninhabitable, but non-existent. Last week FEMA moved in 40 trailer houses, and to hear the PR spin coming from Washington, you'd think the housing problem was totally solved.

One woman who is both homeless and unemployed (her place of work was destroyed by the flood) told me, "I actually envy the poor people in Myanmar. The government there did nothing. Nothing from a government would be a blessing. Our government moved in and made things worse for us. All we ever hear is how we can't do this or that because it's unsafe. It's not about safety. It's all about control, and forced compliance, and-- above all-- it's about giving the impression that the government knows what's best for us. And to make the situation totally ridiculous, our government scorns the leaders of Myanmar for being dictatorial. First Katrina. Now central Iowa. When everyone in America has eventually had the benefit of firsthand government emergency response, it will be the end of our democracy."

There's nothing I can add to that, except to say, "Pray for the people in central Iowa."

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