Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Answer Is How High

People are waiting. Some die as they wait. As Americans watch the helpless wait, politicians all over the place say they’re doing all they can. They should have bitten their lips.

You never tell people watching folks die and drop off the radar of civilization that you’re doing all you can. Unfortunately, in this day and age, politicians are trained to go on the defense against claims of inadequacy. This is one time when that is purely an unacceptable response. Now is not the time to say that you are doing all you can. Now is the time to take heroic measures.

Image-based politics puts the reputation of the politicians ahead of the fulfillment of the policy. It assumes that the purpose of communications is to demonstrate the virtue of the politician, and avoid any negative portrayal of them.

Even in normal times, this can be problematic. There are times when people deserve to look bad. At work, if we don't do our jobs, we rightly expose ourselves to criticism. It is cowardly for us to hide behind claims of excess pressure under normal circumstances and to say we need a break. We are rightly encouraged to push through, and get things done. Despite what the politicians say, we have the right to expect the best out of them.

People are stranded, people are dead, and vast stretches of the Gulf Coast have simply been demolished down to the foundations. We focus an awful lot on New Orleans, But other cities have been practically obliterated and people there are also on the edge of survival as well. Now is not the time to say enough is done. Now is the time for heroic measures. When the people of the Gulf Coast ask for their their governments to jump, the politicians should ask how high, and then get to work doing what's been asked of them, no matter how difficult. Now is not the time for complacent excuses, but heroic measures. The faster the politicians figure this out, the quicker it will truly look like they're doing what they need to do- Because they will be doing all they can.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at September 2, 2005 7:40 AM