Saturday, June 12, 2010

We Need (to Remember) True Heros

(Picture Left: Mama duck and babies at Harlem Meer in New York. Grim reminder that the disaster in the Gulf is happening at a time when hundreds of species of animals are spawning and reproducing. Reported on CNN today: A baby dolphin washed up dead on a Gulf coast beach. The dolphin was quickly scooped up and hauled away [presumably by BP workers]before any cameras could photograph.)

The other day, I was critical of political leaders and questioned why it is we just don't seem to nominate or elect the best people for the jobs?

Certainly, the best example of that was George W. Bush.

True, Bush didn't actually "win" the election of 2000. Gore won the popular vote by almost half a million. But, a glitch in election law and a controversial decision by the Supreme Court handed the Presidency to a man who truly was not at all competent for the job.

Ten years later, our country is still paying dearly for that mistake, although the people did vote to keep Bush in office in 2004. -- Something that is very difficult to understand.

It seems, more often than not, we elect people not based upon their experience, qualifications, character and competence for the job, but rather inconsequentials such as appearance, "hair style," personality, (i,e, "He's the one I'd like to have a beer with!"), charisma or most of all, slick or negative (to the opponent) campaign ads.

That is truly disastrous, as during any time of crisis (such as we have now in the Gulf oil seepage), we need leaders who can take charge, inspire trust and show us a way out of the abyss.

So far, that is not President Obama or more than 95% of the Congress.

But, it is not true of all political leaders.

Throughout this catastrophe, there have actually been a couple of politicians who have stepped up to the plate and demonstrated true leadership during a crisis.

One of these is Congressman, Ed Markey (Democrat from Massachusetts) and Bobby Jindal (Republican Governor of Louisiana).

Both of these men have courageously stepped out to the front lines of this disaster and responded as we need our leaders to respond.

Markey fought hard and is mostly responsible for forcing BP to release the video showing the continuing oil spill to the media. This was a very important achievement in terms of ever getting any kind of handle on exactly how much oil is spewing out all over the Gulf. -- It goes directly to the issues of accountability, disclosure and transparency.

Markey has continued to be an outspoken advocate for honesty and transparency, as well as a strong critic of how the disaster is being handled.

Both, Markey and Jindal have, from day one, sounded the alarm bells on the long-term effects this enviornmental disaster would ultimately wrought on the entire Gulf coast.

Jindal has been begging for resources to be sent into his state and when that didn't work, the man has personally been out on boats sucking up some of the oil with rudimentary suction devices and trying to create barriers.

Jindal has invited media to film some of the devastation to the marshes, wildlife and wetlands, most likely to the disdane of BP and the administration, who, so far have continually low-balled and obfuscated the oil spilling out in the Gulf and the ultimate damage.

It is important during a crisis of this magnitude to keep a careful eye on our elected officials and other politicians to see who is actually stepping up to the plate and showing true leadership and who are dropping the ball and/or distorting/hiding the truth (unfortunately, true of most of the pols, including the representatives from New York.).

When primary and election time rolls around, instead of paying attention to (insult our intelligence) commercials or even debates, its most important to go back to our memories.

Who stepped up to the plate? Who dropped the ball during a crisis?

Those are the only questions we need to really ask.

The catastrophe in the Gulf is giving us clear answers to those two questions and will tragically continue to do so for a long, long time. -- PCA


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