Friday, September 09, 2005

One Nation, One Family

In a private act of mercy, former Vice-President Al Gore evacuated 270 Hurricane Katrina survivors. Chartering two airplanes, Gore moved 140 people, many sick, to Knoxville, TN on Sept 3rd and another 130 people to Chattanooga, TN on Sept 4th.

Mr. Gore became involved when Dr. Anderson Spickard, Gore's personal physician, contacted him for help in cutting through government red tape. Dr Spickard told an AP reporter, "Gore told me he wanted to do this because, like all of us, he wanted to seize the opportunity to do what one guy can do, given the assets that he has."

Gore ponied-up $50,000 for each of the two flights. Later, the founder of California Pizza Kitchens, Larry Flax, pledged to underwrite one of those flights. Greg Simon, president of the Washington-based activist group FasterCures wrote an account of the story that was posted on a Democratic Party web page. Simon wrote, "None of the airlines [American Airlines] involved required a contract or any written guarantee of payment before sending their planes and volunteer crews ... One official said if Gore promised to pay, that was good enough for them."

Col. Dar LaFon (Ret), Gore's cousin, was also recruited. At one time, LaFon was head of the military hospital in Baghdad. He is an Internal Medicine specialist and accompanied the evacuees to their destinations along with Spickard and Gore.

Vice-President Gore's act of private charity, caring, and giving exemplifies the very heart of America. He acted because he was dissatisfied with the speed and quality of the government's response to the hurricane damage in the Gulf Coast region. The spirit of American giving was at one time the norm, but beginning with the FDR Administration, the Federal government began taking on more of the charity work private relief organizations once performed. With the increased government involvement, the quality of the relief has declined, the speed of the response has been extended beyond reason, and the red tape has increased exponentially.

Organizations like the Red Cross were, in years past, the first source of aid and were on scene within hours of any disaster because the volunteers lived in the stricken area. People took care of their own. In the ensuing days, State and Federal aid was forthcoming after the damage was assessed, helping with the clean up, rebuilding, and offering low interest loans.

Today, government is expected to be the rescuer of first resort. Large amounts of free cash is thought to be a right that government (the taxpayers) owes the victims, as if government caused the hurricane, flood, earthquake, fire, landslide, as if there were a conciousness of purpose behind the act of destruction. The government is now held responsible for all Acts of God because now, without God, we have no one else to blame but the government. We could blame ourselves, but heaven forbid we actually take personal responsibility as that might harm our precious self-esteem.

We should all applaud the charitable actions of our fellow citizens no matter what political party they have chosen. Al Gore's generosity is in the finest traditions of America and her people. Ironically, his act of personal responsibility and personal charity to his fellows demonstrates the core values the Republican Party espouses rather than the failed collectivist charity of the Democratic Party Village.

Thank you, Mr. Vice-President. Now perhaps we can begin the hard work of dismantling the nanny state that has proven once again to be unequal to the requirements of disasters and the needs of real human beings, returning to the people the helping responsibility to whom it belongs.

As I write, Shelter from the Storm - A Concert for the Gulf Coast is being broadcast from coast to coast and across the entire planet to raise money to help those in need and to rebuild the cities and towns of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. All of the performers are donating their time, performances, and talent in personal acts of charity. Because we are compassionate souls we will get through this tragedy as one nation, as one family.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.


Sylvana said...

Good going, Gore! and all the others that jumped in and took charge.

FEMA used to work pretty well. But it was crippled after 9/11 to allow money for Homeland Security whose main objective was to protect us from a threat less likely to happen than a natural disaster. 75 cents of every dollar given to HS was used for terrorism. The man that Bush put in charge of FEMA did not have the crisis credentials that that post required. He had no clue how to organize and coordinate such a large project demanding immediate attention.

Democrats surely believe in personal charity to help those in need. Democrats give money and time to charities all the time. However, they realize that personal charity often isn't enough and sometimes it can come with strings attached (which I guess no help is for free). Without the government stepping in to organize some way to fill these gaps, the country would have taken a lot longer to recover from The Great Depression and other national crises.

In most natural disasters, the local government is very much able to handle the initial recovery. In this case, the disaster quickly overwhelmed the local government's capabilities, and the resources that they normally used for disasters had been reduced (National Guards for example). In a situation like this, the government should be ready to step in quickly to get things under control. For the sake of the large amount citizens in danger and immediate need, as well as the country as a whole.

Don said...

Sylvana is right up to one critical point. The federal govt. can't swtep in to take without the consent of the local government requesting the assistance.

Ron Lyre said...

Thanks. Have reciprocated.

dcat said...

Don I hear ya!

Sylvana said...

Lieutenant General Russel Honoré, the head of the Department of Defense's Joint Task Force Katrina, indicated in a briefing on September 1 that the governors of Louisiana and other Gulf Coast states requested that the Pentagon establish local defense coordinating offices on Friday, August 26, and that the Army began operating in those states that day and the following weekend in preparation for the hurricane.

In addition, Gov. Blanco formally requested that the president declare a state of emergency in Louisiana on August 27, in a letter complying with the terms of the Stafford Act. She stated in that request, "I have determined that this incident is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments, and that supplementary Federal assistance is necessary to save lives, protect property, public health, and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a disaster. I am specifically requesting emergency protective measures, direct Federal Assistance, Individual and Household Program (IHP) assistance, Special Needs Program assistance, and debris removal." Also in the requesting letter, the governor stated: "In response to the situation I have taken appropriate action under State law and directed the execution of the State Emergency Plan on August 26, 2005 in accordance with Section 501 (a) of the Stafford Act. A State of Emergency has been issued for the State in order to support the evacuations of the coastal areas in accordance with our State Evacuation Plan and the remainder of the state to support the State Special Needs and Sheltering Plan."

These are only what I have found so far, but I think it is a good start in showing that at least the Gov of LA was trying to get aid BEFORE the hurricane even hit. These requests, from what I have found so far, were not formally accepted by and acted on by the federal government until Sept 1, except that some of the Natl Guard were allowed to go into the gulf states before the hurricane hit.

Indigo Red said...

Excellent points, Sylvana. I appreciate the time and effort you put into this. Most people are satisfied with the first blush of accusation and name calling and are done with it. You did some homework.

I read, in toto, both references and had to use a calendar to place events in time. It appears that Governor Blanco did in fact request aid before the hurricane hit. And did so on the proper form (sorry, DrMax) in a timely manner.

The doumented events also indicate the Federal authorities were responding to events and requests in a proper and timely manner. I do know that FEMA had rescue helicopters picking up people on Tuesday until they were shot at by thugs on the ground apparently benefitting from the chaos.

Perhaps, with this information, we should step back and await the bi-partisan version of events (read: the fabricated version to which the Dems and Reps can agree.) The rest of us will eventually believe it was the fault of the mysterious man on the grassy knoll.