Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Not exactly the "Midwest's Katrina"

As massive flooding continues to ravage the Heartland, some commentators have taken to referring to the disaster as "the Midwest's Katrina." It's not a comparison I think is at all apt. In fact, I'd argue that the events only share two common traits: they're disasters, and they involve water. Other than that, though, it's apples and oranges.

However, it seems like the real reason the comparison is being made by some is so they can then go on to extol the virtues of the good, hard-working Midwestern folk over the looting, "whining" citizens down in New Orleans.

I take no issue with characterizing most of the people currently dealing with the flooding as "hard working." For the most part, people have been coming together to do what they can to see this thing through, keep everyone safe, and come out stronger on the other end. Official response has been, as far as I can tell, pretty dang good. Not perfect, but good. Dustin Christopher has a good take on this over at his blog.

But to compare this with Katrina? Hell no. A hurricane, especially one of that magnitude, is not much like a flood. And the people of New Orleans? I would argue that they had every right to "whine" and complain about the official preparation for and response to it: blatant negligence on the part of levee builders and inspectors, poor evacuation planning and execution, delayed disaster response by the federal government, inept FEMA leaders, and the list goes on and on. If that's not reason enough for complaint, than I'm not sure what is.

Why use this current disaster as a reason to rail against other people effected by disaster? It just seems crude. Praise the people dealing with this for their efforts, but leave Katrina out of it.

In other news, I had the distinct pleasure of talking with Lee Rayburn over at the Mic (92.1 FM) this morning. If you're morbidly curious to hear the fruits of our conversational efforts, tune in tomorrow morning from 6AM - 8AM and check out my mad radio skills. Or, if you're not keen on waking up so early, download the podcast of the show later in the day.

Finally, I'd like to point out something that relates to my recent post about elected Democratic delegate Debra Bartoshevich, who publicly stated that she would be voting for McCain in November. I said that, while she absolutely has the right to vote for whomsoever she chooses come fall, as an elected delegate to the DNC, she is beholden to support the party. Turns out, it's in the DNC's rules, too: "...delegates will not publicly support or campaign for any candidate for President or Vice President other than the nominees of the Democratic National Convention."


Anonymous said...

With all due respect, FEMA is not the key responder in disasters. It is always local and state response that is the key. Louisiana has corrupt and incompetent leadership, the Midwest doesn't.

It really is that simple.

Emily said...

That's why I only just included FEMA in a list of both local and national plans and responses that were botched.

Emily said...

Also, I would beg to differ that the "Midwest doesn't" have any corrupt leadership. New Orleans/Louisiana is certainly on the worse end of the spectrum, but still.

The Lost Albatross