It is a tale of two cities – both subjected to disasters of historic proportions, both large and modern port cities, and both disasters happening under a Republican administration but that seems to be where the similarities end.
With Katrina and New Orleans, even though the real disaster was caused by the breaching of a federally designed, constructed and maintained levee and state/city maintained pumps – the media coverage was far more rabid and harsh against the sitting president, there were multitudes of fabricated tales designed to enhance the sense of failure of FEMA and take the heat off the local and state led Democrat government, and it seems to me that people simply abdicated their own responsibility to take care of their own safety to government and simply waited for government to come to rescue them. At the time of Katrina, the population of the greater New Orleans area was almost 1.3 million people – 1833 people died.
In after Harvey Houston, there was little to blame on government even though there are some who have tried to blame the Democrat mayor for not issuing a mandatory evacuation notice, complaints about lack of zoning regulations and many on the left are trying to make tendentious claims that the Republican led state government or FEMA acted too slowly – but overall, none of those claims have gained traction. It seems most of the people in Houston got out or at least were better prepared to take care of themselves. When Harvey hit, population of the greater Houston area was around 6.5 million – to date, the death toll from Hurricane Harvey stands at 44.
Why is there such a difference – in almost every aspect, especially in news coverage? I remember how Katrina dominated the news coverage for months with national network anchors camping out in NOLA for what seemed like months. Correspondents were filing breathless reports about the disaster and there was endless debate in Congress about rushing increasingly large amounts of money to Louisiana. Hollywood stars helmed benefit shows raising money for the storm victims. Kanye claimed Katrina response was slow because he hated black people. Houston is a 51% minority populated city, so where are all the stories about racial hate that in 2005 were so de rigueur?
Where is all of that now?
It sure isn’t because the media now loves Trump and the GOP.
Could it be because being a Texan has less to do with skin color and more to do with a tradition of self-reliance and grit? Could it be because the people of Houston have no time to pray to government for salvation because they are too busy saving themselves – and their neighbors? Could it be that they didn’t care whether government approved of how they rescued people, they just got it done?
Texas really is different. It isn’t a place, it is a state of mind. Texas became the last refuge of the rugged individualist spirit, exemplified by cowboys and wildcatters, by statesmen like Sam Houston and patriots like Davy Crockett. When Texans ran out of land to explore, they created Mission Control, the place from which we explore space. Every astronaut who has left Earth’s atmosphere has been a Texan by proxy. The phrase, “Houston, we have a problem” is a universal colloquialism for something that must be overcome.
But being a rugged individualist doesn’t mean you don’t care about others – it is who you are, not what you do. It means that instead of waiting for a government operated boat to come by and pick you up, you gas up your bass boat and go find people who need your help. It means you act first and worry later. It means you are a member of what I call the DGASWYT movement – the Don’t Give A Sh*t What You Think movement.
Texas still is what America used to be before we allowed the politicians to tear us apart.
God Bless Texas.