Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Random, disorganized thoughts about life after the Katrina disaster . . .

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina continues to amaze me. The stories I've been seeing show such a polarity within the human heart. Michelle and I watched a rerun of the Oprah show last night, which showed people at their very best, and unfortunately also at their very worst. They went inside what used to be the New Orleans airport, but has become a hospital. The workers there will never be recognized for the many days in a row they've worked with little or no sleep, trying desperately to save as many as possible. The show also interviewed several people that spent time at the Superdome shelter, which quickly deteriorated into mayhem central. The stench of human waste, stories of rape and shootings, people who fled the shelter because the flooded streets were safer. I had the same thoughts watching that as I did when I heard about the Abu Ghraib prison abuse stuff - sick to my stomach that supposedly enlightened Americans would do that kind of thing. But then there's Oprah - perhaps the most truly powerful person in America - throwing down the love.

After having recently worked with this population, the thought occurred to me, "What about the drug addicts?" I wonder how many heroin junkies experienced all of the hardship of this disaster at the same time they were detoxing because they had no place to go to score a hit. I wonder how many cigarette smokers have given up the habit without even realizing it.

The hurricane survivors are being relocated literally all over the country. Seattle is almost as far away from the Gulf Coast as you can get in the continental U.S., but a few thousand people are headed our way. Some permanently. Through this process, the stories will penetrate our communities and shape our collective identity.

In the middle of the outrage that is rightly being raised over the slow federal response to the disaster, I feel badly for the countless members of the beauracracy that have performed in a heroic way. Hospitals don't just randomly organize at airports - it took years of planning and training for that to happen. But even the middle level managers that planned well, and executed the plan flawlessly, essentially disregarding their own homes and families and well being to do so, will get lumped in with the incompetents. And even the incompetent ones . . . I don't want to defend the indefensible here, but are we really so arrogant as to think that we could have thought of everything, and then responded to all the variables perfectly? I'm glad I don't have those kinds of expectations at my job (I know, I know, that's why they get the big bucks).

posted by Steve at 5:32 AM
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Anonymous Anonymous commented at 10:23 AM~  

I was really grieved with that Oprah show, I had to turn it off.There was soo much anger churned up with she was pointing all kinds of blame.Making it about racial issues and political finger pointing.It was a hurricane? Too many celebrities with Messiah Complexes and their enterauges right behind with cameras announcing how much money they gave.If they truly wanted to help, who needs to know how much they gave, They just end up exploiting those who are hurting the most,but in a different way.The real story is of the countless Churches and brother and sisters that are tirelessly working and loving people in Jesus name and you are not going to find their names on a sign somewhere, or on a sappy t.v show.

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I'm Steve Lewis. This used to be my blogging home. My online home is now at When this blog was my active online home, I lived in Seattle. Now I live in London, UK. I follow Jesus (poorly most of the time), worship simply, read a lot, watch culture, go to school, listen to music, write, enjoy art, and drink a lot of coffee.
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random, disorganized thoughts about life after the katrina disaster
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