Politicians are drawn to disaster, just as butterflies are drawn to butterfly bushes. Just before I took this picture I watched butterflies fighting over the best branches just as our political leaders jockey for those prime television spots where they can ooze false empathy for the victims of the disaster.
Katrina was a huge natural disaster. While on the surface it might appear that an event with this many missteps at so many levels of government would lead to some accountability in government, it's not likely to happen. It's just not in the nature of the government to fix itself. If we sit back and wait for government to investigate itself, we are going to be disappointed.
The problem with our government is not the one or two bad eggs who might get their hands slapped for incompetence. We're way beyond that. We have a system which rewards politicians, companies, and special interests that know how to play the game. And to them it is a game with huge rewards.
The hope that Jim Hoagland expressed in his article, "Katrina's Global Lessons," is nothing more than a pipe dream.
This is the moment for the president to show the humility he once promised to bring to America's world leadership, but which he largely abandoned once in office.
Politicians don't change their stripes. They may cover them, but they're the same animal under the stage makeup. Actually the real problem isn't even the politicians. They are what they are, or perhaps more correctly what the system has permitted them to become.
If we're really looking for a place for the blame to rest, it is the people who continue to put the same politicians into office year after year without looking beyond their shallow and transparent promises which are often little more than lies with sugar coating. We've become an electorate that doesn't even know how to vote for its best interests.
If you sit in your comfortable home and think that our government's response at any level, recently or over the years has been adequate in preparing for Katrina or in providing immediate help afterwards, you are deluding yourself.
Changing the system will demand that we break the close bonds between government and the sleazy companies who have become parasites draining the wealth of our nation. There are many good people in government and in the corporate world, but there are also many at high levels in public service who are there only to get rich once they leave government and join the corporate world. The influence that they can weld over others still in government is one of the most corrupting influences that we face in changing the system that could destroy the America that has brought so much good to the world.
We are in desperate need of intelligent, hardworking people willing to be public servants. We must have leaders who can change the direction of our country away from a government designed to enrich the few at the expense of the many. We need a government for all the people, with fairness for the rich and the poor.