When you go to Louisiana, one thing that strikes you immediately is how the entire state is affected by water and by rivers. The Ouchita cuts through the state from the north, the Red River transects the entire state from the Shreveport in the northwest as it runs into the Mississippi and the two rivers meet a few miles above Baton Rouge, flowing into the Mississippi as it surges towards New Orleans and the Gulf.
The water has meant commerce,fishing, farmlands and wealth for Louisiana. And it has also meant death, destruction and heartbreak when the rains come, the levees overflow and the rivers unleash their destructiveness.
This is such a time for people in the north central part of the state where the rivers meet. Almost 80,000 people have lost their homes, disaster is widespread and many people have seen most of what theyown washed away.
At a time like this , what people most need next to promises of food,shelter and medical relief that might be a while in showing up (particularly in a state like Louisiana where corruption is not unknown) is a sense that they’re not alone, that someone ha seen and understood what they’re going through and has made a personal commitment to help.
Donald Trump and Mike Pence landed in flood stricken Baton Rouge today on Trump’s private plane. They actually brought truckloads of badly needed supplies with them and helped in the unloading themselves.
And to say that people were cheered and gratified to see them is an understatement
To those who might think this was nothing but a political stunt,you might remember that Louisiana is a red state certain to vote for Trump/Pence anyway, and that both men completely changed their schedules, cancelling a major event in New York to be here.
This reminds me of how Eleanor Roosevelt behaved during the Depression. As a former Hull House volunteer, she understood human suffering. She didn’t go on luxurious taxpayer funded vacations, host lavish parties in the White House or strut around in designer gowns. Instead, she went to Appalachia, to the worst slums in America, to the hard hit Dustbowl regions and to anywhere she felt the American people needed to realize first hand and in person that someone in Washington understood what they were going through, that someone cared and was trying to help. Whatever you might think of her politics, her heart was never in doubt in the least, and a shining beacon to the American people during dark times.
What Trump was doing was acting like a president, and anyone aware of the huge amounts he raises and gives to charity isn’t going to be surprised that his natural innate compassion made this instinctive for him.
That’s something that’s been missing in DC for some time.
And the man who actually has the job of president? Well, he has important business to attend to in Martha’s Vineyard:
DHS Head Jeh Johnson did finally make it down there for a press conference…and not in the flood area, either. when reporters started shouting questions at him about why the president wasn’t coming, his response was classic. He explained to them that he would be briefing the president and said several times, “The president can’t be everywhere.”
Indeed. And I just just imagine the briefing:
Johnson: “There’s sure is a lot of water in Louisiana.”
Obama: “Ssssh! Quiet! Watch me sink this putt…”
This is by no means unusual for this president. He’s made a practice his entire administration of ignoring disasters, unless there was some political payoff ala’ Sandy Hook. Residents of Kentucky, Oklahoma, Nashville, and North Texas among others can testify to that.
And remember the Gulf Oil Spill, and the almost farcical delay of the Obama Administration to do anything about it for weeks? When even a Democrat-for-life like James Carville starts screeching at you on national TV to get off your behind and do something, you know there’s a problem.
Actually, to be fair, the president did do something. After delaying any response at all for weeks, he finally ordered the shut down of dredging protective sand berms designed to keep the oil off the coasts after Governor Jindall got tired of waiting for authorization and went ahead and authorized dredging the sand berms on his own to try and protect Louisiana’s coastline and fishing industry. And there was a lot of behind the scenes action. I’m still wondering what ultimately happened to that $20 billion dollar escrow account ‘controlled by a third party‘ that the president extorted out of British Petroleum.
The bottom line is that Obama doesn’t care unless there’s a political fodder in it for him. Simple as that. Ironic that someone who keeps mouthing pretend teleprompter scripts about his compassion for his fellow Americans has so little of it in reality.
Authored By J O S H U A P U N D I T