Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Chicago Effect

I might be wrong, but I have funny feeling that the affects of Hurricane Katrina will be felt on election day.

Why? Because Americans might not expect much from their government, but they expect them to help them out in times of severe crisis.

And the government on all levels have failed miserably.

There is a true story that has become a cautious tale for politicians. In 1979, a monster snowstorm struck Chicago. Here's a little taste of what happened:

In Chicago, roofs collapsed from the weight of the snow, and transportation was brought to a standstill for nearly a week. Garbage trucks were unable to run and the rats took advantage. The salt used to de-ice the roads caused motor failures on some of the trains. Abandoned cars slowed snow removal efforts. Buses were at least two hours behind schedule if they were running at all. After six days, only half of the runways at O'Hare were open for traffic.

The mayor at the time, Michael Blandic suffered as a result:

Chicago Mayor Michael Bilandic, who took over after Richard Daly died in 1976 and was seen as a caretaker of the office until Daly's son was ready, lost the Democratic primary to Jane Byrne in on February 27, 1979. The defeat was widely reported to be a result of his inability to keep the city open for business during this blizzard.

Since that time, politicians have gone out of their way to look like they were on top of the situation. When a major snowstorm blanketed the Northeast, including New Jersey in 1996, that's state's then-Governor, Republican Christie Todd Whitman, drove a snowplow to show she was doing what she could to keep the Garden State moving.

I have a funny feeling that the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will impact the 2006 elections. I know that the CW is that people have short memories, but this is different. An major metropolitan center has been made uninhabitable and will remain that way for months. We are acutally using the word "refugees" to talk about American citizens. That isn't something people will forget.

I think goverment failed here. I'm not simply pointing a finger at Washington, but on all levels. I mean, why didn't goverments come together and build adaquate levies? It wasn't a big secret that something like this might happen in the Big Easy. And why wasn't there a plan to get those who had no transportation and no means of getting out on busses or trains or planes or something instead of putting them in the Superdome and hoping for the best? Why were there no cots in the Superdome? Why was there no plan to get the remaining people out of the city? Why was there no plans for adaquate law enforcement, including the military? Why was there no plan to get food and water into the area somehow?

Four years after 9/11, we should expect better. What is going on in New Orleans shows us that our pants our still down and butts are still exposed. If we can't prepare adaquately for a natural disaster, then what will happen when there's another terrorist attack?

I don't think I'm the only one asking these questions. Again, this is not directed at one party or one person. Government as a whole failed. Rasing money is nice, but people need help
now. And it seems the help was a day late and a dollar short.

And people will remember that in November, 2006.

I don't normally agree with them, but theMinneapolis Star Tribune has a great editorial about government's poor response. Also, blogger Kevin Featherly has a great post as well.

The info about the 1979 Chicago blizzard came from


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