As I enjoy my first day of quasi-solitude (Smartypants is at school and Smiley is asleep), I take a moment to catch up on the post-hurricane news. I’ve been avoiding this topic because it didn’t seem appropriate for a parenting blog. But then I saw more and more images of disaster, and I decided it has everything to do with children. So at the risk of angering some of my readers, let me say this: There is no excuse for what happened in New Orleans.

Nature had her way with Louisiana, but it was neglect, unpreparedness, and incompetence that caused the devastation in nature’s wake. Children dying on the streets. Babies starving, malnourished, dehydrated. As a parent, how can this not weigh you down with grief?

When last we saw dead and dying on our streets, our government promised they would be ready the next time disaster poked its ugly face through our door. Four years of empty promises later, this failure should haunt every one of us.

When we elect leaders, we must work to see beyond the propaganda. We must look beyond the commercials and the rhetoric, look beyond the photo-ops and the spin. We must base our decisions not only on who agrees with our own ideals, not only on who most desires to aid the cause of humanity, not only on who has the best speech writers, not only on who claims with the loudest voice they will protect our shores, but on who is most capable and competent of carrying through with their promises.

As the pathetic actions of our federal government proved last week, and as their blame-shifting political tactics prove this week, our current leaders lack the capacity to protect America and to safeguard its citizens. They value politics above life. They value Party above country. Sadly, thousands of people paid a price for that disloyalty and incompetence. We cannot let it happen again.

Imagine your child without food or water for three days, without clothing or shelter for three days, stomping around unsanitary streets unable to bathe for three days. Imagine it, and remember... The next time it might be your child.

Incompetence mustn't be forgiven. Spin mustn't be allowed to invalidate the truth. And neglect mustn't go unpunished. Too many lives are at stake. We cannot let it happen again.


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