Then/Now

December 21, 2005

{Operation Eden: Eight Years, Two Americas } – “Grand Forks, like any other American city, deserved nothing less than this immediate response; but thinking back to the overwhelming and rapid government response to the ’97 Red River floods leads one to wonder how it is possible that New Orleans, a major U.S. population center, received absolutely nothing in the first days — forget hours — after the worst disaster in American history?

Why were President Bush’s FEMA officials paralyzed when Bill Clinton’s FEMA was in Grand Forks months before the ’97 flood? Why were people left to suffer and die in the New Orleans convention center — a situation FEMA Director Michael Brown didn’t even know about until days later — when Grand Forks evacuees had cots and, very soon after, trailers to live in?”

I had friends in the military who assisted with the efforts to sandbag and evacuate parts of the areas affected by the 1997 flood. As I read through this comparison between it and the 2005 hurricanes I though about the same things: “Why were President Bush’s FEMA officials paralyzed when Bill Clinton’s FEMA was in Grand Forks months before the ’97 flood?”

I still don’t get it. Maybe because it seems that we had a more “people-friendly” government then. Or maybe we just had a better administration….something that I’m now having to admit to, since I really don’t like Bill Clinton, and it kinda sickens me to say that he was one of the better Presidents of the 20th century…..but I digress.

Like I said, I’m not a fan of Bill Clinton, but why was he (and his administration) more capable of sending relief when we had a city, more in a perilous situation than in Red River? And we cut their funding to secure the levee, to boot.