February 13, 2007

3,125 and STILL counting

It's worth saying again. 3,125. Dead. American. Soldiers. I'm guessing that what will eventually end up on Bush's tombstone is "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

What really chaffs my hide, though, is that our National Guard has to serve over there, fight over there, die over there. They could be over here, helping rescue New Orleans. Believe me, they still need rescuing. Did you know that the two ports in New Orleans are the largest in the nation, by tonnage? Did you know that a third of all the nation's seafood goes through New Orleans ports, and a quarter of all the nation's natural gas? New Orleans ain't just some quaint little historical place for college kids to puke on the street and for girls to show their tits in return for beads (what, is this some strange tribute to the original purchase of Manhattan or something?).

Not only that, but over 200,000 people who used to live in New Orleans are still living in other states, and they want to move back home. Basic services like hospitals, grocery stores--even showers!--are still unavailable in some areas. The workforce is not sufficient yet. And relief--particularly government relief--is slow to come, if it comes at all after dealing with unbelievable red tape.

There are great things being done there. I witnessed work the local United Way is doing. I saw the tremendous courage of the founders of the Just The Right Attitude food bank. I saw the frustration and perseverance of the founders and workers at the Beacons Of Hope. Strong people, working hard to rebuild their city better than it was. People who need help and deserve help and who have been forgotten and abandoned by the rest of the nation.

If you are planning a conference, consider planning it in New Orleans to bring them some business. Plan a day or half-day service project. All kinds of agencies can get you involved in a project.

One final note: I often rail against organized religion. I personally have no use for it. But one of the big success stories in this disaster has been the relatively efficient and effective response of faith-based relief groups and organizations. When the government failed utterly, the nonprofits and faith-based community have responded. But they need help.

Too bad our National Guard and military are deployed and depleted and dying in Iraq.

1 comment:

writtenwyrdd said...

I'll be spending some time there in April. I've never been in LA before, but I find it interesting that the tales of NO's recovery are so exaggerated. You'd think everything was back to normal, and yet it is far from that.

I did know how vital the seaports there and at Biluxi are, but people tend to think Los Angeles, NY, SF and Seattle and forget the rest, unless they are from the South.