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In the end, the people came through

September 17, 2005

To the editor:

It has been said that the government is responsible for helping the victims in national emergencies such as Hurricane Katrina.

I agree. This is true.

So while Mayor Nagin debated with himself about whether he had the authority to use school and metropolitan buses to evacuate the people of New Orleans before they were flooded, wondering whether it was even legal to do so, thousands of American people were already coordinating emergency relief efforts.

While Governor Blanco was considering the possibility that the federal government might declare martial law and in so doing, step on her political toes, Americans all over the country were setting up disaster relief funds.

While FEMA director Michael Brown was waiting for permission from the governor of Louisiana to move in and take over rescue efforts, faith-based organizations were already on their way to New Orleans with truckloads of supplies and volunteer workers.

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While some Democrat leaders were examining the timetable of the storm to see if they could find something to blame President Bush for, ordinary American citizens set up the blog for relief weekend to collect charitable contributions to send to the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

While Red Cross workers were prevented from delivering emergency relief supplies by representatives of the State of Louisiana's Department of Homeland Security because they were afraid more hurricane victims would come to the Superdome requesting assistance instead of leaving, American people were boating through the flooded streets of New Orleans, searching for survivors and distributing food and water.

While President Bush was conferring with his advisors about God knows what and, in so doing, delayed any action by about a full day, ordinary Americans were stuffing donation boxes at retail stores all over the country to help the survivors of the disaster.

While some senators and congressmen were busy blaming Bush for several things, including causing the hurricane and hating poor black people, individual Americans - black, white and brown - were donating blood and living space for the displaced victims of Hurricane Katrina. Some even furnished entire homes.

While Sen. Mary Landrieu, on Fox News Sunday, was making excuses, ordinary Americans were offering the displaced people of New Orleans jobs to help them get back on their feet.

Yes, the government is indeed responsible for helping the victims of national disasters. Thank God the people of the United States don't wait for the government to act before they do.

Mark Maness
Clear Spring

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