Sunday, August 31, 2008

Watching, Waiting and Praying

Nearly three years to the day since Hurricane Katrina blasted Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, and the entire country once again finds itself glued to television screens to watch the track of another major storm. I also find myself praying for many friends that we have still have living throughout the Gulf Coast region, several of whom have emailed over the past few days to say that they're leaving and heading north. We pray that their absence from their homes is brief and that they can return very soon.

In the nearly ten years that I was a resident of Alabama, I lived through four hurricanes: Danny, Opal, Erin and Georges. There was a certain fear at the time about what they might mean for our lives and homes, but by comparison to Katrina and now Gustav they were just mere annoyances. I've heard from my parents for many years about the destruction caused by Camille (even in southern and southwestern Virginia), and I was only 9 when Frederic hit the Gulf Coast and caused such horrible damage.

There is no disputing that the aftermath of Katrina was a disaster on many levels, so for me it's reassuring and somewhat encouraging to see that local, state and federal officials have learned their lessons and are reacting much more quickly and proactively to Gustav. Having said that, and knowing how critical residents of the Gulf Coast were to the late reaction after the last big storm, I'm appalled as I flip through the various news channels to see that there are people who have ignored the repeated warnings to leave ("mandatory evacuation" means just that -- a mandatory evacuation) and are sticking around to ride things out. This time, there are no excuses if something happens to them -- the buses and trains were there and taking folks out of town, and they had nearly-constant messages to hit the road. With a wife and two small children, there is no way that I would take the sort of gamble that these folks are taking.

As someone who worked in politics for many years and who is a self-professed political junkie, this is the time of the year where I should be preparing to watch debates, final convention appearances and around-the-clock prognostications. None of that now, though. Can't focus too much on the new sense of energy that the choice of Sarah Palin has provided for the Republican ticket -- and I am pleased that the GOP is taking this serious enough to cancel all activities for the first day of the convention and consider putting together major fundraisers throughout the week for the Red Cross and other relief organizations.

May God continue to be with everyone in this nation at this time, but particularly with all of those who will be living through Gustav's (hopefully short and weak) appearance on our shores.

1 comment:

Kansas Bob said...

Amen to this Dave:

"May God continue to be with everyone in this nation at this time, but particularly with all of those who will be living through Gustav's (hopefully short and weak) appearance on our shores."