In 2005 I had the honor of joining the first civilain crew from Idaho, via the Vineyard Boise church, that went down to New Orleans to start cleaning-up the disaster caused by Katrina. We had to fly into Houston because the damage to the New Orleans Airport (and surroundings) in Kenner, LA would not allow commercial flights to land. It was all that fresh.
I remember at the time thinking that neither the GOP nor the Dems showed ANY good side of themselves. The President was tardy and the Governor of LA was just as bad. The whole thing was a governmental cobbed up mess of posers, in pretend leadership costumes. (Jack Nicholson's line as the Joker in the 1989 Batman movie came to mind at the time: JOKER (furious) "Batman! BATMAN! Can somebody please tell me what kind of a world we live in where a man dressed as a bat gets airtime!? This city needs an enema! ") Hmmm....
The place was an absolute mess...and it seemed that the only folks who were doing anything practical were the ones who were on the ground at the time or who flew down there to volunteer. Government leaders failed us at all levels.
The Twin Cities are a far distance from New Orleans, but not really. We are all neighbors. We are all workers and we are all Americans.
The truth of the matter is that our nation needs leadership. It begins at the local level with city councils and mayors...through PTAs and civic organizations. Through churches like the Vineyard Boise and others that sent crews like ours to live in gyms and work for hours on end in the shabbiest conditions I have ever seen. The mold was unbelieveable...the dispair was everywhere...until hope arrived.
How great it was to arrive with chainsaws, shovels, masks and time...time to simply tear out walls, roofs and houses and begin rebuilding them.
Gustav is already bringing out the best in us...the GOP convention is a distant issue of importance. Life is what counts. The rest is just foolish "self importance", isn't it?