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Hurricane Katrina (1 Viewer)



This section of my book is a portion from a chapter entitled "How Low Can You Go?". It details Bush's low approval rating and gives reasons as to why it is very low (35%). All of the sections are formatted the same- it gives my thoughts on the issue, the reasons why it is a factor in Bush's low approval rating, and then sends a message to the Administration as to how it can improve its rating. Thanks for reading!

The Mishandling of Katrina

If Iraq was not the biggest blunder of the Bush Administration, this was. It was the morning of August 28, 2005. The New Orleans Mayor, Ray Nagin, held a press conference after a hurricane heading toward the Gulf Coast was upgraded to a Category 5 storm. He had ordered the mandatory evacuation of all of New Orleans, saying that the storm many had feared was coming. For the people that could not leave the city, refuges were set up, one of them being the Superdome.

We all know what occurred next. Winds over 150 miles per hour broke the Category 3 levees of New Orleans. A thick coat of water was poured on the city. Entire houses were washed away, along with the possessions and memories inside of them. People's whole lives, gone in an instant. Many watched as the damage was being wreaked. They watched as over 1,800 of their friends, neighbors, coworkers, and family members died. They were helpless- everyone's lives changed that day. The Northeast had 9/11; the Gulf Coast had Katrina.

Cue the protectors, right? Bring in the saviors, the heroes, the ones we depend on. Send in the superheroes to make everything better. That is the storybook ending for something like this....and in some ways, it happened...

Americans unified for the first time since 9/11. Thousands of dollars were brought in to help the devastated families. Kids made lemonade stands, and sent the profits to New Orleans. People sent in clothing, blankets, household appliances, and letters, expressing their sorrows for what happened and their hope for something better. Candles were lit in churches to honor those that died, along with the conduction of prayer services, the moments of silence that public schools held, and meditations being held in tribute to the lives. Everyone found some way to honor the affected, whether it was spiritual or monetary. Many even unselfishly traveled to the devastation with various organizations to lend any possible help. These people were the true heroes.

So how does this tie into Bush's approval rating? Well, its simple- the American People were the saviors. We were the saviors. The government did nothing. They weren't the heroes that they are supposed to be. The Bush Administration botched this catastrophe worse than the botched John Kerry joke. Why do I say this? Well, let's look at what they did wrong...

Before the hurricane ever touched the city, FEMA was down for the count. Why? Two words: Michael Brown. Michael Brown is the man that Bush appointed to the position as Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA. This man had no experience in emergency situations at all. In fact, the most impressive part of his resume was about horses. He spent eleven years as an integral part of the Arabian Horse Association, so you can see how that makes him a formidable appointee to a position as head of an emergency situation association. At the time that the storm hit, he was the head of FEMA, this agency that is supposed to manage emergencies in America, and he was a vital part of the administration's response to the hurricane.

It is agreed upon by the People that the federal government's response to this emergency was much less than spectacular. But what may be the most disastrous part about this is President Bush's personal response. He was on vacation when it happened, at that all-too-familiar Crawford ranch. It took him over a day to break off his vacation. It was a day of death, destruction, devastation and panic before our leader finally left the ranch. He left the retreat Wednesday- the storm hit on Monday. His first image of the Gulf Coast was the day he left the ranch, but it wasn't on ground. His first glimpse of the destruction was in the air, on a plane, and he didn't see it again until two days later, when he visited New Orleans the Friday of that week. Our leader, yet again, let the People down. He did not visit the Gulf Coast until four days after the storm hit. In a time like this, a good leader would have been there for the People the minute he or she found out about it, not 98 hours later.

Thinking back on it all, it gives me a horrid feeling in the pit of my stomach. Its not just the fact that we had an unexperienced person directing one of the most important agencies in our government, nor is it just the feeling of carelessness President Bush portrayed. What it is in addition to all of that is how everything was handled after the storm had gone through the area. There were times when emergency volunteers went to help and were told to go the opposite way. Buses tried to transport people from the city to another, safer, more stable part of the country but were not allowed entry into the disaster area. The well over 20,000 people in the Superdome were not fed or treated to properly. The incompetence that the Bush Administration had showed was amazing.

Through the botched, slow response to Katrina, another issue was brought up- racism. Because the area was predominately African American, and because the response was ironically botched, many African Americans around the nation cried racism. It was definitely not an unrealistic argument- the lack of care that President Bush showed, the horrible aftermath of it, the fact that many died because of how they were treated after the hurricane hit, the fact that volunteers who were trying to help were turned away- all of these things brought up many questions- “Would this have happened in a predominately white Northeastern city?” “Would Bush have been a bit quicker about getting back to work had it been a bunch of white people dying?” My answer is no. It may be because I am not black that I say this, but I really don't believe that the Bush Administration's response, or lack thereof, was racially inclined. I think our administration was just not ready for this level of a disaster. Michael “The Arabian Horse” Brown was appointed before the hurricane had even begun to form. I mean, think about everything that has happened in this administration and you'll see that their incompetence has nothing to do with race. I just think that Bush and his administration was caught extremely unprepared, so it would've been the same response had it happened on the West Coast or anywhere else in the country. President Bush had no idea how huge of a catastrophe this was and so he would have stayed on vacation for a couple of days regardless of who it hit. They just did not understand anything about the emergency. It had nothing to do with race. It was a matter of basic ineptness.

My message to the Bush Administration on this issue is this: you can do nothing about the past. You can't go back in time, no matter how badly you want to. You can't go back to 2003 and appoint a different director to FEMA. You can't allocate the money needed to upgrade the levee system three years ago. What you can do, however, is try to rectify it by hurrying up reconstruction. You have to build homes instead of providing trailers. You have to create a better levee system now. You must remember that no matter how you try to rectify it and make everything better, no matter how much money you put into the area, no matter how much time you spend on reconstruction, you will never bring back the lives that were lost because of your carelessness and lack of response. You will never be able to heal those wounds or fill those empty spaces in people's hearts now that there loved ones aren't there. You will never be able to bring back those houses that held in them memories of the old days, nor will you be able to regain the trust of the area's citizens anytime soon. You must work to take that trust back. So speed up the reconstruction, apologize, and try to move on. But while you're doing that, just keep in mind everything that was lost in that hurricane- it wasn't just material things, you can buy more materials. You will never be able to buy those lost memories and lives. Just remember that.


Structurally, grammatically, there is little wrong with this piece. That's in your favor. And honestly, it sets you above a good 75% of people who want to write.

But there's little here that appears to be...original thought. Maybe that's too harsh. What I'm trying to say is that if this section is representative of the entire book, you're not bringing anything new to the table. This is stuff that we've heard over and over again. Agents/publishers are only going to want something that's fresh and new. There's already a glut on the market of books about Bush and the administration.

There needs to be something unique. So far, I don't see it.

Sorry if this is harsh.