Liberty is Missing In Action

OK, so NOLA is making progress in the power restoration – hearing from more and more people that power is on, or promised within hours. Most folks are going to be spending a few days cleaning out the refrigerator, and any damage that Miss Ida left behind.
I am grateful there was not a high death toll. I’m also grateful we didn’t see the number of home demolitions by floodwater that I’ve seen in other storms. This was not as big a storm as Katrina, but it really doesn’t matter when you have this kind of unexpected and lasting interruption to daily life.

It will be interesting to see if there are any plans for going forward because this will not be the last major storm with lasting damage that hits New Orleans or elsewhere on the Gulf Coast. We can debate remedies and mitigation for climate change from now until forever, but none of that is going to help people recover from storms like this in the next couple of decades.

Unless someone has a magic climate wand to reverse the damage that’s been done to the environment, we’ve got to figure out a recovery plan for the foreseeable future. For the second time in recent history, a major U.S. city ground to a halt because there was no way to mitigate serious damage and no way to recover nimbly or even quickly.

When a port city like New Orleans falls off the radar for even a brief time, there are impacts all over the port network of the U.S., and impacts to supply chain all over the world. If New York goes down, or even Gulfport MS, we’re going to have problems. We don’t realize the size of just the food supply network, let alone other supply chains for other things we use in daily life.

We’ve got to still be putting a great deal of energy and resources into recovery from natural disasters, because no matter what we do to mitigate climate change, those remedies will not be immediately realized. It’s going to be business as usual for quite a while, at least the rest of m lifetime.

I’m looking to see creative recovery and mitigation plans, like critical infrastructure with backups, and route diversity. I’m looking to see critical parts of the infrastructure installed underground or in silos, or something more durable than a steel tower that is subject to extreme wind damage.

How about improving on the old Civil Defense plans for shelters that were mostly underground, or in lesser populated areas? Why can’t we figure out a way to not have hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of miserable and sweating people in interminable lines outdoors waiting for other miserable and sweating people to dole out a couple of MREs?

We can do better. We all know that we can do better. Katrina was in 2005, Ida in 2021, and still the same long lines, the same shortages, the same inadequacies. Yes, some things have gotten better since Katrina, but improving from a negative 10 to a positive 1 on the scale of effectiveness still leaves quite a lot to be desired. And that’s just New Orleans. What about wildfires in CA, storms in the upper North East (how much better has THAT gotten since Sandy?), earthquakes and volcanoes everywhere?

Let’s not operate out of fear, fear that we won’t have enough if we make the massive expenditures necessary to provide for EVERYONE in the next disaster. And there will be one. I agree that we have to do whatever we can to mitigate and stop climate change, but none of that is going to eradicate all threats from natural disasters. One if by land, two if by sea – but it’s hundreds by land and thousands by sea, and we’ll never – NEVER – be able to stop that. Mother Nature is way bigger than we are, but we can do a whole lot better at recovering from the onslaught.

I’ve been told that pain is inevitable in a human life, but suffering is optional. Hmmm. I’m not entirely sure there is any other option than suffering when you’ve 70 and been thrown into a situation, through no fault of your own, where the heat index is 102, the humidity is more than 80%, there’s no easy way to get water or food, and there’s no end in sight. You have no choice but to suffer, particularly if you have health issues or conditions that do not respond well to those circumstances. What if you have a milder case of COVID in the middle of all this? As they say – it is what it is.

Spend the damned money. Make the necessary changes. Do the right thing. If not to protect everyone’s life, liberty and pursuit of happiness what the hell are we here for? If we’re here for less than that don’t talk to me about loving your neighbor, giving free clothes and food to the needy, or making sandwiches and soup for homeless folks on the weekends. They are homeless 24×365 – nights, weekends, holidays and sporting events included. Just because we don’t see them when we’re locked up tight in our comfortable homes doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

Love is but a song we sing, fear’s the way we die. C’mon people now, smile on your brother everybody get together, it’s time to love one another right now. (“Get Together” – Jesse Colin Young/The Youngbloods).

That is all. Carry on, but remember – everybody is not having a great day today.

Liberty is tired. That should not be.

Published by annzimmerman

I am Louisiana born and bred, now living in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Fortunately for me, I was already living in NC before Hurricane Katrina decimated my beloved New Orleans. An only child, I now feel that I have no personal history since the hurricane destroyed the relics and artifacts of my childhood. As I have always heard, c'est la vie. My Louisiana roots show in my love of good coffee, good food, and good music. My soggy native soil has also shown me that resilience is hard-wired in my consciousness; when the chips are down (or drowned)...bring it on.

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