Gary says, ‘Fire the president; fire them all’
Between the large number of e-mails and the phone calls, I have just about had it with Hurricane Katrina. Not that there is anything inherently wrong with hurricanes. Last time I checked, they are a naturally occurring event, not unlike our blizzards and avalanches. Nothing you can do to prevent hurricanes. It seems the problem is the lack of response following the hurricane that is concerning most people. There was a plan. There were resources. There was no leadership.Many are calling me to talk about having uncontrolled fits of crying whenever they hear something new about how our government failed all of the poor people following the hurricane.I would like to start by calling for the resignation of President George W. Bush, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, FEMA Director Michael Brown, Governor Kathleen Blanco, Mayor C. Ray Nagin and Police Superintendent Eddie Compass.
As near as I can tell, they are all responsible for the major screw-up in New Orleans. I expect their resignations on my desk by the end of work today.I am not a big fan of Bill O’Reilly. He is a jerk of major proportions in my mind. The only thing worse is the Fox News Network. But, having said that, I think O’Reilly hit the nail on the head. They did not have a Rudy Giuliani the way New York did after 9/11. They did not have any leadership. It had nothing to do with resources. It had to do with basic B-flat leadership. None of the people on my resignation list stepped forward to take charge after the hurricane.I had thought about just complaining about President George W. Bush, but I can’t do that without lumping everyone else into the same pile.A few decades ago, a theorist by the name of Elisabeth Kubler-Ross designed a universal theory on the grief-loss process.
It was part of a book she had written titled “Death and Dying,” but the steps have now been applied to many other life events. I used it when I taught my “stop smoking” classes. When you quit smoking, you lose a lifelong friend. Hence the loss part.Another great therapist is the comedian Bill Enqval. He perfected a routine that revolves around the statement, “Here’s your sign.” We have all seen the T-shirts, one with “Stupid” written on it and the other one with “I’m with Stupid.” Bill took this to the next level and gives away imaginary signs that say “Stupid” on them when someone does or says something stupid. To all of the leaders, “Here’s your sign.”Using the Kubler-Ross model with the Bill Enqval kicker, here is my spin on what happened:- Denial – Prior to the hurricane all the leaders denied something like that could ever happen. The city was built about 20 feet below sea level, but we never had to worry about the levees breaking. Here’s your sign.
– Anger – After the hurricane, when the world of our leaders turned to brown tapioca, they all got mad and started blaming each other for their own shortcomings. They did not have enough fingers to point or enough microphones to speak into trying to distance themselves from the problem. As they were being angry, people were dying in the attics of their homes, trapped by the rising water. FEMA Director Michael Brown did not know there were victims in the New Orleans Convention Center until he saw a news report on CNN. Here’s your sign, Michael.- Bargaining – Let’s ask Congress for $40 billion to throw at the problem. That will make all those poor people happy. Let’s send them to about 10 other states. Out of sight, out of mind. Let’s force them to move out of their homes so the national TV networks cannot take any more of those embarrassing pictures. Here’s your sign.- Depression – They all started looking at the news coverage of how they had failed to perform, and they got very depressed. They all started to look and speak worse each day that went by. A classic example of this was Police Superintendent Eddie Compass last week trying to explain why two of his policewomen were shown on TV looting a store in uniform, why two of his officers had committed suicide in the midst of the rescues or why he cannot account for several hundreds of his officers who have thrown down their badges and guns and walked away from their jobs. Very depressing. Here’s your sign, Eddie.- Acceptance – We have not reached this stage yet. I think we will in time, but while we are waiting, here’s your sign.Lindstrom lives in Lakeview Meadows and represents Summit, Eagle and Lake counties. He writes a Monday column. He can be reached at email@example.com, or visit his website at http://www.garylindstrom.com.
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