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Friday, September 02, 2005

Is Now the Time to Critique?

This morning we turn on the TV to find out the weather for our area, and the first thing I see is Katie Kuric's mug. She's interviewing some guy and she's visibly upset. As I keep watching, I realize she's interviewing the director of FEMA and she's nailing him about what they've done wrong, what they should have done, and what they could have done better.

Something about it sat uneasy with me. Now, I'm typically a critical person...to a fault. But something just rubbed me the wrong way. (Hey, it may just be that my hyper-critical mode wants to even criticize those who appear critical). Granted, we didn't see any TV all day yesterday (still adjusting to our new life!) but it just seemed a bit too soon and too harsh.

After her interview with the FEMA director (who was just as aggervated with her) it turned to another analyst. He made the statement that with 9/11 many people disagreed with the government but put that element on the back burner for a while because unity was what our country needed. We don't need unity now?

Believe me, I'm all for evalutating. The greatest tragedy of all is if we learn nothing from this and just set ourselves up for the same disaster again. But is NOW the proper time?

First of all, I realize that I don't know what to do. If I was in charge of FEMA (or any other government agency) things would be a lot worse. I don't know what could be done or should have been done differently. I don't know what they knew ahead of time and even the feasibility of some of the "quick fixes" the media talks about. I don't think Louisiana is run by the cast of "Waterboy" so I have to believe there are some people there who know what they are doing. It's so easy to point at all the problems now, but could they really be fairly known before this tragedy? (Should architechs have really been expected to consider what would happen if a plane flew into their building prior to 9/11?)

Second, is this going to help relief efforts? If people begin to think the relief effort or even this tragedy are the result of poor planning or human error, are people going to lose interest in helping out? Will we be quickly hearing people say, "I'm sick of hearing about that hurricane and those people down there!" instead of hearing about how their hearts break and they want to help. If this turns into a political thing, are anti-Bush people only going to see this as another blunder of his instead of how we can respond to natural disaster?

Third, it takes the conversation away from spiritual issues to political issues. When someone asks, "Why did God allow people to die in the hurricane?" I can give one answer. With the shift of attention, people can then answer, "God didn't allow it, our government is just inept." True or not, that's not an answer that will lead anyone to salvation.

I think there is a time to respond to the job done by others. I certainly believe some people should be called to the carpet for the job they've done. All our jobs should function that way. I'm just not sure it's wise to do it in the midst of tragedy. I'm not sure FEMA's energies are best used apologizing and justifying their actions right now, and not on saving lives. I don't think I have all the information to make an assessment of a person's job. And I frankly don't care what my neighbor thinks about George Bush. While my neighbor is sensitive to the issue, I want to know what he thinks of his own life, and how it relates to Jesus Christ.

I just don't see how pointing fingers right now accomplishes any of that.


  • At 2:20 PM, Blogger Jones said…

    I agree. I saw the same interview this morning. They are criticizing how slow the relief work is comming and how fast it came for the tsunami victims. It's been four days people, yes, that's a long time for the Katrina victims, but it takes time for troops, supplies, and transportation to get organized. Also, they are criticizing FEMA for not giving enough aid to the people. Honestly, with a situation like this, FEMA is doing a pretty good job because they are shipping in food and water to people all over the areas that were hit, not only New Orleans.

  • At 5:40 PM, Blogger Jeremy Bear said…

    I don't have it within me to criticize FEMA, I'm sure they're doing everything they can, but help needs to come now in the form of food, water, gasoline, medicine and safe shelter. I was horrified to read that the Gideons are sending aid in the form of hundreds of thousands of Bibles.

    Every single resource available right now should be going to helping citizens of the Gulf Coast survive. Loading trucks with New Testaments instead of bottled water and penecillin could literally be a grave mistake.

  • At 10:30 AM, Blogger jason said…

    I definitely saw Bob Schieffer doing the same thing the other day on CBS... and he didn't even have anyone on his show. I can stand some of the political games, but it seems that this is more about sticking it to Bush than it is about helping people in trouble... which makes me lose even more respect for those involved.

    I remember watching David Letterman a few years ago when Al Gore was on. The man had the gaul to critique President Bush's handling of the 9/11 tragedy basically saying that he would have done a better job. He didn't say how... he just said he would have.

    If a Democrat were in office would we hear a peep out of Bob and Katie's mouth? I doubt it.

    The knife cuts both ways though. Jodi and I were watching a news report in which one of the Republican governors tried to use a briefing of the situation in his state to the president as a political oppurtunity in front of a national audience. Not cool.

    I am encouraged to hear of Bill Clinton's and George Bush Sr. relief work, though. Its good to know that at least someone knows that this isn't a time for politics.


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