Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Which beach would the Candidate of Change identify more with ... Malibu or Galveston?

Greetings, all. We continue to emerge from our hovels around here as life begins to slowly return to normal. Make no mistake, it was bad here on the Texas Gulf Coast. It still is.

The power at our house was restored a short while ago, but about 1.25 million as of this writing remain without power.

There is no delicate way to say this: The national media's coverage of this disaster has been breathtakingly ignorant. It's understandable for many outside the Gulf Coast to think the story line here is that the "storm surge was less than expected". The truth is that, while the surge could have been higher, it was wide and deep. The hurricane made a direct hit on the Houston-Galveston area. Hurricane-force winds in this huge storm blanketed the Houston-Area for hours as about 15 inches of rain fell.

The area looks like a war zone in many spots. Trees and power lines are down everywhere. In much of the Houston area, houses that did not lose trees are the exception.

To get a good idea of what really has been happening, go to the Houston Chronicle's web site. Check out the photos on the site. Say a prayer for those who are suffering so mightily and send a donation to a relief organization, if you are so inclined.

You won't hear a lot nationally from the residents of the Texas Gulf Coast, the same people who shouldered much of the burden of sheltering Katrina refugees. Most will just go on about their business of trying to pick up the pieces of their lives.

Life goes on. Here, we get hit about every 20 years or so with a major hurricane. Since the last one was 25 years ago, I blame global cooling for the 5 year respite.

Lots of politicians have been on the radio the past few days. There's been a little finger-pointing, and certainly some pandering from time to time, as you might imagine. Mostly, the comments and the efforts have been constructive, though. The best line I heard came from Pres. Bush, who doesn't need to campaign in Texas (or anywhere) any more. The President said, "By helping your neighbor, you are helping your nation."

Lots of my neighbors are helping their nation around here. That's how many of them live. On Saturday, one neighbor who I didn't even know showed up with a chainsaw to remove a fallen tree from my driveway. Another showed me how to pump my septic. Others gathered and distributed intel about where to get gas. There were thousands of acts of kindness and generosity that you will never hear about.

There were some isolated pockets of exceptions, but the rule was amazingly-civilized and neighborly conduct around here. Nearly all the stop lights have been out (I mean no lights at all), but people respect each other and the law and treat them like 4-way stops. It's a small thing, but it gives you insight into the deep decency of the people of the Texas Gulf Coast.

Meanwhile, on Galveston Island, the situation is dire. Incidentally, Galveston is a heavily-Democrat area of the state. It seems, though, that the national Democrats don't seems to have much time to spend on Galveston Beach. Surely, this doesn't have anything to do with Texas' shiny red status, does it?

Maybe the many black residents who lost everything on Galveston Island can ask the Candidate of Change at the next opportunity.

But alas, it appears they won't get the opportunity. Obama found a beach in Malibu more to his liking than Galveston. The Barack and Babs gathering of last night speaks volumes, and on many levels.

Trembling markets and the self-anointed change agent of our time simultaneously and ominously announce the weakness of much of our sick, self-absorbed politics and culture.

And the cure won't be found in the government.

The cure is among us ... out in the neighborhoods and in our homes.