Part 2 – A Republican’s Insight: Is there a Chance for a Democratic Foothold in the South?

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you missed Part 1 of our series, A Republican’s Insight, you can catch it here (note Part 1, outlines various topics of this series). Many thanks to Donnie from Houma, LA for sharing his insight with The Democratic Daily in this special series.

Part 2 – A Republican’s insight: Is there a chance for a Democratic foothold in the south?

Donnie from Houma, LA: This is part two of this series. I’m sure that part one is going to send some GOP members into a complete state of shock. When their shock and rage wear off, there are going to be people, I don’t know, that will hate and despise me in just the same way that the Democrats must have felt after Zell Miller’s speech at the 2004 GOP convention. Their hate and rage will never compare to what the people on the Gulf Coast felt, as our fellow Americans were Dying right in front of the eyes of the World. The Rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness of America’s citizens were violated. That is the real deal, regardless of who anyone wants to blame, it all comes down to the simple fact, that the rights of American’s were violated and according to the laws of the land, someone has to answer for that violation of our Rights and Trust.


TOPIC 2: Could FEMA have managed this monster undertaking if competent leaders were in place and actually tried to do their job?

Examples can and will be given to the fact, that communities, and parishes, in the surrounding area, made a big impact on people and their needs. This was managed by places (cities, towns) without the massive resources that are available to the Federal Gov., and at the expense of each community and volunteers.

I personally cannot understand the “They must ask for help” mentality that plagued this catastrophe. To expect people to do tricks like a dog to get the reward is beyond crazy. Roll over to get your dog biscuit, is not what people expect in a time such as this. FEMA caused so much chaos when they did show up, in a few places, that local Authorities were sometimes baffled beyond speech. Instead of assisting, they became a hindrance.

While FEMA attempted to coordinate, some communities went into action days before the “Where’s FEMA?” cry reverberated throughout the country. Surrounding parishes coordinated and sent rescue missions into New Orleans, before FEMA had a clue as to what was going on. Here in Terrebonne Parish, we had our own Sheriff and DA each take rescue missions to New Orleans.

I don’t mean they sent people there, they personally went there and got out in the water to help carry people. And they didn’t have the USS Iwo Jima as a command post either. While there are so many places that stepped up and did a fine job, I will use my local area as an example. It’s not to leave anyone out by any means. It’s just that this is where I was able to witness the extent first hand.

Evacuees were taken in and no one was turned away. They were given shelter and hope, when their Government. cast a black cloud over them. Assimilation of those evacuees into our community continue, and the children are attending school in our parish. Some have plans to set down roots in our community, and we welcome them. Some didn’t know anything about this city that is only about 56 miles away from New Orleans.

All this was being accomplished while officials tried to get their own community back to normal. Terrebonne and Lafourche Parishes managed coordinate all this relief work, Restore Power, and deal with the damage sustained, and they didn’t miss a stride… and yet the most powerful nation in the world was in chaos. Surely FEMA had a better plan than that, considering they were under the command of the Dept. of Homeland Security. The last time I checked, the gulf coast is still a part of the “Homeland”.

At least some people kept their heads straight and took care of business, while the biggest players in the saga, had their own lil turf battles; acting like a bunch of little preschool kids fighting in the sandbox.

It’s shameful and each and everyone of them needs to apologize, to not only the local people, but to the nation as a whole. The whole world has seen this play out and what do you think will be said in the end? The WMD that “everyone” was so worried about was Hurricane Katrina, and it wasn’t a terrorist that brought it here.

There seems to be no problem with allocating moneys to this after the fact, but what happened before this? What happened to Homeland Security and the agencies like FEMA, under them? Maybe this will help clarify the money question www.warresisters.org/piechart I don’t know about this website, but if they are correct, or close for that matter, “Homeland Sec. (50%) $16B” is not even in the range of a situation like this.

Lack of vision, leadership and true abilities of people in positions of power, and the care for human lives, American lives at that, cannot be taken for granted by the people entrusted to protect them. If the Federal Government cannot rectify this situation, then they must look to those that showed leadership under pressure and made it happen. The system has failed and it is up the our leaders to make it work, or to get out of the way and let real leaders take their place in positions they need to be in.

Proof that it could have worked:

1) Our community shows its heart in time of crisis

The issue: Locals respond to Hurricane Katrina.
We suggest: Praise deserved.

Houma’s quick and compassionate response to care for hundreds of Hurricane Katrina’s refugees is deservedly drawing praise from around the country.

2) Local medical community cares for Katrina’s victims
By LAURA McKNIGHT
The Courier

HOUMA — Dr. John Sweeney was on vacation, still dressed for a relaxed time filled with fishing and boating, when he noticed activity Tuesday at the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center.

“I stopped to see if I could help,” said Sweeney, a Houma orthopedic surgeon, and was swiftly pointed to a man who had just suffered a seizure.

3) Displaced students shift from shelter to schoolyard
By Mika Edwards
The Courier

HOUMA — Before the sun rose and poked through the low-lying fog, 15 students gathered outside the Houma-Terrebonne Civic Center Friday morning waiting for a school bus that would take them to their new high school.

4) Houma residents show FEMA how it’s done

Houma is a beacon of hope in a hideous situation. After watching with utter dismay the appalling situation in New Orleans, I watched the response of Houma with the first glimmerings of hope in this dismal situation. The response of the people of Houma has been fantastic, the organization excellent, the compassion brilliantly evident. Bravo, Houma!

Now go teach FEMA how it should be done.

Sally LoGalbo
Richmond, Vt.

I can only say that I hope Big Brother looks at our local communities and sees that it is possible. If a Parish with only 106,000 people can do this, our Federal Gov. should take a real close look at their faults, and make things right.

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31 Responses to Part 2 – A Republican’s Insight: Is there a Chance for a Democratic Foothold in the South?

  1. Teresa says:

    Donnie,

    As you well know you are a treasured addition to Dem Daily. How did you connect to this site and choose it for your reports?

  2. Ron Chusid says:

    Teresa,

    There certainly seems to be an improvment in the Republicans who hang out here.

    (Anyone know what happened to Fritz?)

  3. Teresa says:

    I also think this is so evolved and gives me great confidence in the future of the country. When we can get together from different, even opposing perspectives and have a dialogue.
    The fact that you are not in a panic to abandon your philosophies and change political persuasion just yet is wise. What we need to do is look at each candidate for political office and make an informed intelligent choice outside of party loyalty. The we might become politically advanced and not treat the process as a sporting event or schoolyard game.
    It will be a long time before the others catch up, but this is a great beginning.

  4. Teresa says:

    LOL, Ron!

    Shhhhhhh… I know how much he tickles you (Fritz) but this has been a nice respite.

  5. Ron,

    I think Fritz got lost in Dr Phil land or something… There is a marked difference between Donnie and Fritz. A marked difference.

    Teresa,

    Yes, I think we hit the jackpot with Donnie. He’s a gem.

  6. Donnie From Houma, LA says:

    I don’t know if there is an improvment Ron, but this may be a start. Teresa, as I told Pam, I stumbled across it, the day after the power was restored after the hurricane. Pure accident. Call it fate if you will. But know this, the next one is gonna get nasty!!! What are the local people thinking and saying about the current situation, and Pres. Bush? That is the next topic!!! I gonna put Pam into overdrive on the editing with that one as far as I can see. Do the words “Expletive Deleted” ring a bell?

  7. Teresa says:

    I don’t mind expletives, myself.

    As a matter of fact, as the folks here know, I’ve been the authoress of some a time or two.

  8. Donnie From Houma, LA says:

    Well that may be so Teresa, but I do have to make an attempt to be the southern gentlman. I do go off sometimes, but I need some form of reality. Maybe I’ll just put it in French, HEHEHE.

  9. Donnie From Houma, LA says:

    I have to release some news I just found out about.

    La. Deaths at 423; Facility Owners Charged

    By ADAM NOSSITER
    Associated Press Writer

    NEW ORLEANS – In a day of reckoning across battered New Orleans, the owners of a nursing home were charged in the deaths of dozens of patients killed by Hurricane Katrina’s floodwaters, the death toll in Louisiana jumped to 423, and the mayor warned that the city is broke.
    http://houmatoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050913/APA/509130572

  10. Teresa says:

    Good idea, Donnie. I think we might have to straighten up and fly right anyway.

  11. Ginny in CO says:

    Donnie,

    I think you’ve shown up several problems in a better light. The first one has been sort of lost in the NOLA debacle: that FEMA didn’t show up any faster or better prepared in the huge areas outside of New Orleans that were devastated, didn’t have the mandatory evacuation orders and weren’t flooded.

    Then you point out that those same people – like your town – were able to go get victims out of NO, when FEMA was dithering over laws, requests, legalities. We will be reminding them for a LONG time that the South did not secede, and is still a part of the UNITED States of America.

    I suppose there will be some similarities in the way some Democrats felt about Zell and how Republicans will feel about you. Whatever the emotions, the triggers are quite different. Zell just went ballistic. His arguments and comments were so lame, more of us felt embarassed for the guy.

    I know how those Internet Landings happen, one minute you are reading something, a link or a story takes you off and suddenly… Well, it’s our good fate all around 🙂

  12. Donnie From Houma, LA says:

    Ginny, I will jut try to make the best ot it. The images will never leave my mind. I told Pamela a story on another post about a hurricane in 1985 when the males in the neighborhood picked up a car to put it on blocks. The worst flooding in over 20 years, and yet it doesn’t compare to this.

  13. Ginny in CO says:

    Donnie,

    I saw that post. Reinforces what I have read about many times in this disaster: the people who have been through hurricanes before. They know what to do better than many of the disaster workers. And this one overwhelmed them. It is beyond grasping in any normal way. And it puts many of you at risk.

    Those images won’t leave. They may become less of an intrusion. It won’t mean they will be much easier to live with. I am all too familiar with the effects of PTSD on vets, children and other victims. A huge number of the southern population now faces this plague on their lives to some degree.

    You are making the best of it, and more. And you probably will for some time. Just realize that, if it all piles on and gets to you at some point, you are human, you are not invulnerable and you will get through the tough stuff a lot better if you get help.

    Too many people think that any form of mental problem is something they should be able to work out themselves. This is like expecting something broken to fix itself! Presumably there are agencies and newspapers there that are getting the information out about how to cope, where to get help, etc. One of the best ways to keep your whole self healthy is rest and sleep. The body has an amazing capacity to heal. The catch is, it does 90% of it during deep rest.

    And of you haven’t picked up on this yet, I am an RN – 30 years. Every so often I have this compulsion to make sure a blogger is taking care of himself 🙂

  14. Teresa says:

    Nurse Ginny. That’s good advice for all of us. This country has been in a disaster for five years.

  15. Scott says:

    Teresa – You are right -on, this country has been a disaster for the last five years. This past Sunday I was at an airport bar and sitting next to me were Soldier heading to Iraq and a displaced fella from New Orleans. It helped to put everything in perspective for me. Five years of mishandling, reframing debates, media controlling and fear mongering has lead us to a place that will take years to overcome.

  16. Teresa says:

    Scott, I like what you said:

    “Five years of mishandling, reframing debates, media controlling and fear mongering has lead us to a place that will take years to overcome”.

    It sounds like you believe that that’s in the cards. To overcome this.

  17. Donnie From Houma, LA says:

    LOL I’ve been at it again!!! Just couldn’t help myself.
    http://blog.thedemocraticdaily.com/?p=498#comment-3558

  18. Ginny in CO says:

    Donnie,

    LOL,,I think you are taking good care of yourself! Humor is always good for high stress levels. 🙂

  19. Donnie From Houma, LA says:

    I was told something about the “Deaniacs” before, but to bash the members of your own party, to have your chosen man of the hour take the lead role, is insane. Internal rifts are not what The Dems. need. Especially at this time with King George sitting on an unstable throne. Let each man make his case, and if he takes the lead in 2008, then so be it. I do feel that Kerry a true contender still.

  20. Teresa says:

    Never in a million years would I have thought that a Republican would be cheering us up so much!

  21. Donnie From Houma, LA says:

    Teresa, did you tell Ginny about the Guard Unit that saved the old woman?

  22. Donnie

    We try to give the DNC leader the benefit of the doubt these days, strictly for the reason you mention, internal bashing is not good. Neither is external… the Republicans are good at staying on message and being supportive even when they don’t agree.

  23. Donnie From Houma, LA says:

    I only hope that everyone will get focused and realize that if McCain ends up as the front man, life is gonna get worse if people loose their heads. McCain’s run in 2000 proved that. This so called war hero, had Veterans and POW/MIA activist running a “No McCain in 2000” campaign against him. The Vets. turned their back on him.

  24. Donnie

    McCain was a POW. The campaign against him you mention was driven by the Bush cabal and fueled by lies, as the Swift liars were.

  25. Ginny in CO says:

    Donnie,

    Saw your response on the NH guards. That is what we call THOUGHTLESS COMPETENCY. It isn’t so much ‘without thinking’ as the writer says, as doing things automatically because you have either done it or rehearsed it so much – ususally both.

    It is the highest level of knowledge, the information and skills are no longer in the upper cortexes where you have to consciously recall, think and act. This is what I found so interesting and obvious in the first chapter of “Against All Enemies” where Clark relays the actions of the Antiterrorism Group on 9/11. So many things were based on their practices and experience that the stuff would come to mind without searching for it. Saves time for the things you hadn’t anticipated.

    One comparison that now stands out is the issues they had to address legally: Rules of engagement and legality for the Fighter pilots to shoot down civilian aircraft not responding to instructions. BushCo somehow didn’t get some of those legal questions answered for Katrina with any degree of timeliness. Kinda interesting given all those Federalist Society lawyers available to them

  26. Donnie From Houma, LA says:

    Pamela, I’m gonna have to wait till tomorrow to send part 3. Sorry about that, but something has come up that I have to get some validation on.

    Ginny, what do you know about Falls Creek? The weirdest thing happened earlier. I did a google search for something on Kerry, and found the old Kerry Freedom Fighters sight. After that, I hit the back button and clicked on a link about Kerry that sent me to a blog sight with Falls Creek and a debate as to the way it is set up like a detention camp. In a reply to the post that set it off, this is what was said.

    “We knew from the start that we needed additional security at the site so Oklahoma Highway Patrol officers were assigned in double shifts to protect those “guest” from the media and other “well concerned citizens”

    “The occupants of the camp cannot leave the camp for any reason. That is true once they were placed on the busses we had no way to determine their medical status. They have been exposed to several elements and prior to allowing them off camp we wanted to have them checked out by the Doctors and Nurses we had lined up at Falls Creek”

    Ed Kostiuk
    Oklahoma State Dept of Health
    Emergency Management

  27. Donnie

    No worries, I’m beat tonight…

    Do you have link for the Falls Church story.

  28. Ginny in CO says:

    Donnie,

    I think this is a situation that has a lot of weird elements simply because the whole thing gets so complex. Keep in mind there are also many evacuees who were not poor. They had good jobs, nice houses, etc.

    Having read through her report and his reply, I can certainly see how some of it could appear suspicious and yet have very logical and true answers, The navy blue jumpsuit uniforms are very standard for paramedics, ER and field health care workers – from a distance they could easily look like military uniforms. There should be medical divisions of the Oklahoma Guards there. Former job share partner in AK was a Lt Col in the AK NG medical unit. They are superb at this kind of thing.

    The evacuees have been through a lot of things that put them at risk medically. A significant percentage may not have had health care prior to this, and many may have diagnoses that they were being treated for but need to continue treatment. Hypothyroidism would be a major problem if the person was without medication for a significant period of time. Diabetes is much worse, especially those who need to use glucometers to determine their insulin dose. The strips are expensive and you don’t generally have more than a month supply.. Insulin is heat sensitive,

    The complications of having received donations that were dirty, could be contaminated or tampered is a sad reality. Unsafe toys and food are real problems.

    The stupid comment about teenage girls delivering fetuses on the buses is some jerk parroting right wing shtuff. It’s Oklahoma, there are more than a few Right wingers that are going to be in that camp. Could be interesting – meeting people who have come from a very different place and lifestyle. Some of them might open up a bit and realize how much all humans have in common with each other.

    Once the safety and security issues are resolved, I would expect some things will be relaxed. It wouldn’t be the first time in history that displaced people fought over food and supplies for their families. It also is quite likely that as they get to know each other and know that they will all have enough, there will be plenty of effort to get along and help each other out.

    Overall, I would say the OK Dept of Health appears to be doing a very reasonable job adapting the space offered to them to the needs they have and the problems they need to be prepared for.

  29. KJ says:

    Late to this, but can’t sign off without a thankyou.

  30. Donnie From Houma, LA says:

    Update: Part has just been sent to Pamela, look out for it!!!!!! You will want to see this one.

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