Tuesday, September 13, 2005

end the problem

The resignation of FEMA's director, in the face of the Gulf Coast disaster, is a wet blanket. It doesn't lessen the real issue of Michael Brown's tenure. How did he go from directing a horse association -no one is quite clear whether he resigned or was fired from that post, under a cloud- to heading the Federal Emergency Management Agency? Is it because he was the college dorm-mate of one of the President's close friends? Clearly, the question of how Mr Brown ended up in a position where he was totally underqualified and ineligible -when was the last time I got a government job after drawing numerous lawsuits down on my last employer?- this is a question that needs to be asked.

Unfortunately, the question is being dodged. The President wants to move forward. "Here in Mississippi and Louisiana, people want to move forward," he says. I agree wholeheartedly! Then he goes on to say, "They understand there's time to try to blame somebody. But they want to get their lives back together."

I truly appreciate the President's positivity. No, let's not malinger or point fingers. Get help to the Gulf Coast in massive waves of mercy.

The problem isn't who is at fault for the disaster: it's the hurricane, stupid. What we need now, from our elected officials, is accountability. Perhaps blame is being solicited by the mass media. So what? Is the Administration culpable to the press, or are they accountable to the citizens of our fine United States? We are paying attention!

This is the cold comfort: The questions that should be asked are being dodged, in favor of shifting attention away from the neglect of responsibility. I want to know when someone will take responsibility for the lackluster response to the Gulf Coast disaster. I want to know when we will find out why a horse trader was placed in charge of emergency services.

Answering the first question will ease my mind that, despite a fatal fumble this time, responsible parties will step forward and preventive action will be taken looking forward toward the next crisis. After all, this is an Administration that prides itself on pre-empting bad outcomes; let's see that pride in action, rather than in retreat.

The second question needs to be answered too. Otherwise I'll worry that duly-appointed federal offices will start filling up with wrestlers and celebrities. Oh wait, too late. Seriously, the US government needs to show accountability to the electorate of our splendid country. Isn't that why we elect our politicians?


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