A rant from a footsoldier in the “Army of Compassion”

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

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Tonight the armies of compassion continue the march to a new day in the Gulf Coast. America honors the strength and resilience of the people of this region. We reaffirm our pledge to help them build stronger and better than before.– SOTU 2008

There are plenty of footsoldiers in the Army of Compassion. But are we marching to a new day in the Gulf Coast, or retreating before the gates of Moscow?

I’ve just returned from another trip to the Gulf Coast, and I can tell you firsthand that volunteering on the recovery is a wonderful thing. Good works are being done. Friendships are being made.  But volunteerism is not a magic bullet.

There are things volunteers do very well. Needful things. And during the clean-up, volunteers were indispensible. But the army of volunteers along the coast and in New Orleans has run up against the law of diminishing returns.

As the focus of the recovery has shifted from removal to rebuilding, the skill sets needed are shifting as well. Volunteers are, by and large, not licensed tradesmen. We are not general contractors. We are not building inspectors.

The Army of Compassion has fought and won great battles, but we are outmatched by the size and the sophistication of what’s needed next.

In just one county in Mississippi, 12,000 houses were lost; maybe a tenth of that number have been rebuilt.

Where is our command-and-control?  Where are our supply lines? Where is our government, and frankly, what is the point of having government if not to handle the stuff that is simply too big to deal with by yourself?

And finally, where is the outrage? At least Bush mentioned the Gulf Coast last night, but neither Clinton nor Obama did. How will things ever change, if no one is willing to lead?

Music, please…


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  1. thanks!

  2. To me, you are always “mon capitain”!

  3. Thank you for your contribution to the Gulf Coast.  It is a family goal to go to New Orleans for a week this summer to help out.  I will take Joshua and let him do what he can.  My husband will use a week of his military leave in New Orleans.  It is life affirming.  We must do something though about those who destroy our country’s infrastructure from within by bleeding it dry for their own wealth.  The giving and the exorcising of the greed is an overall remedy for what ails us all.

  4. I don’t think you can talk about this enough.

    Thanks for all that you are doing and those with you.  It sets an impetus of inspiration for others to do the same.

    It might also be good to let folks know where it would be best to send money to help in the rebuilding.

  5. the government is by designed neglect taking the land of the poor in new orleans……

    we knew the levies would go…….

    congress refused to appropriate money……

    I remember reading in Scientific Amaerican several years earlier about what would happen if the levies failed….

    complete with simulations…..

    disaster economics is a definite ongoing strategy for getting control of the wealth of certian areas……

    old poorer communities of human beings are hard to displace without exposure…..

    an act of “god” is so much easier…..

    death or disaster…..

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