Thursday, September 8, 2005

Here's a chance to be a part of the solution -- Take part in a meaningful non-partisan discussion on the aftermath of Katrina

After you've given your money and/or your time why not share your thoughts on how to prevent a disaster like the aftermath of Katrina from ever happening again. Be a part of the future solution while Capitol Hill is busy pointing fingers. plk

Public Agenda Alert -- Sept. 8, 2005

* After the Storm: The Implications of Hurricane Katrina

For more than a week, the nation has been riveted by Hurricane Katrina the destruction of the storm, the sluggish government response and the chaos facing those waiting for help. Even now, as the nation tries to bury the dead, tend to the injured and find homes for the displaced, the aftermath of Katrina raises questions about poverty, race, energy policy, the federal budget, in fact just about every corner of American society and the purpose of government itself.

Most Americans are rightly focused on the relief effort, but already the debate over those broader questions is falling into the familiar political partisanship that bedevils so much public debate. We think those predictable responses are a disservice to the complex issues raised by this disaster and will do little to help the nation solve them in the long run. The situation calls for a different approach and we're asking our users to help us find it.

In our new special edition, "After the Storm," we look at some of the questions raised by Katrina. We're asking you, the users of Public Agenda Online, to join us in a discussion on the implications of Katrina.

You can talk about the implications in a general discussion, broadly examining what this disaster means for the nation and whether the partisan debate is helping or hurting the nation's ability to make sense of the tragedy. Or, you can join in on a focused discussion on one of the particular issues we've highlighted.

In these specific areas (poverty, race, the federal budget and the environment) Public Agenda already has "Choicework" guides designed to help people work through the problem. You can use these Choiceworks and the background material to examine all the angles on an issue. Are the policy choices laid out still relevant or does the nation have to think in new ways to cope with these problems? Your responses will help us keep the guides useful, and we hope will keep the public's concerns at the forefront of this debate.

Visit our special edition, "After the Storm":

* How to Help

Organizations and individuals across the country are mobilizing to assist hurricane victims. To find out how to donate to or volunteer with a wide range of organizations, we suggest Network for Good's Hurricane Katrina page:

1 comment:

  1. Hi Pam,

    I have been using this Chinese proverb to describe where we are

    "After a long peace - a time of troubles. After long troubles - a time of peace."

    The grand majority of the officials in positions that would have effected the outcome of Katrina were trained by and large to focus on politics and not the natural world around them. I have yet to see how either the Democrats or the Republicans would have done better on average.

    There have been few if any public statements by major officials prior to the revelation that the Govenors of Louisiana and Mississippi had bungled understanding the scope of their problems. I'm not sure they could have due to political curteousy and allowing a person to do their job. In the end they were hopeless failures to prevent the elderly and immobile from great
    loss of life and property.

    More than most communities, New Orleans relied on a network of public officials doing what they should have to look out for New Orleans long term interests. This is exactly what gets lost in a long time of peace as those that push for painful reforms and projects today to head off some vague threat tomorrow are pushed aside by more optimistic and short sighted candidates. The solution is obvious - excuse the incompetent officials and listen more to far sighted leadership.

    Be aware that we are in a century of really hard choices if the United States is to retain its standing in the world. Just as the pumps of New Orleans are fouling the lake with horridly polluted water, there will have
    to be many adjustments in our society on what is acceptible and what is not.

    We are in a global economy now with a rapidly deteriorating climate and gross dependence on fossil fuels. All the while the US society is impoverishing itself at the rate of a trillion dollars a year.

    The example of New Orleans will indicate how this battle between reason and shortsightedness is going. Texas, Florida, Delaware, Maryland, even New York city hang in the balance on what kinds of policies they will enforce to prepare for hurricanes which look only to get worse with time. If I see no signs of more reason then the misery of the citizens of New Orleans is merely a foreshadowing of our own. This is the reality I see in history and time and chance will bring to all.

    Cheers, Thor


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