When my children were growing up, I would advise them to watch what people do more than listen to what they say. "Actions scream," I used to say. It was a cautionary statement reminding the kids not to be swayed by charming or clever talk, but rather to watch the behavior of an individual for the true window into heart, mind, and soul.
What is transpiring in the wake of Hurricane Katrina is a prime example of my message. At all levels of government today, there is more political fingerpointing going on than there was on the purple-inked election day in Iraq. Most comical to me are the members of Congress bemoaning the bureaucracy of FEMA being rolled into the Department of Homeland Security--after they voted for it!
All this handwringing is irrelevant at present, and the verbosity is very tiresome to deal with. It gets in the way. All our energies are much more crucially needed to aid in the burgeoning relief efforts. There are marvelous accounts of rescue and generosity. If they could get as much media coverage as the political blame game, even more Americans than have already done so might be inspired to assist.
Yes, government made terrible mistakes in this crisis. Whether local, state, or federal blame is ultimately assigned or shared is not the priority right now. Helping our American neighbors to put their lives back together should stay front and center. It is heartwarming to watch small armies of private citizens creating their very own relief agencies, driving supplies to the disaster sites, providing shelter, medicine, clothing, and other necessities. People are doing it on their own, without benefit of the alphabet soup of government agencies. They're just rolling up their sleeves and helping to make things right.
Kids, remember what your mother told you. Actions scream.