Louisiana has been hit by the nation’s worst natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast in 2012. Much of the state was flooded as a result of torrential rains that fell last week. So far 13 people have been killed and tens of thousands are displaced. With rain still in the area, the flooding is far from over.
As it often is the case, people are wondering why President Obama hasn’t said more. Others are complaining that Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and the national media are ignoring the story.
Here in Louisiana, the general consensus is that we really don’t want the national media here. We remember Hurricane Katrina, when the press mostly got the story dead wrong.
We really don’t want national political figures here either, since we still recall the exploitation of Hurricane Katrina for partisan purposes and the failures of government on all levels during that disaster. The people of Louisiana are fine with being ignored.
The media and political figures would miss the real story anyway. The real story is how the people of Louisiana have stepped up to help themselves and their neighbors. Whether it’s the ordinary people using their own boats to save their neighbors (dubbed the “Cajun Navy”) or the movie studio that’s became a shelter for displaced people, Louisiana has become an example for the rest of the country. We waited in 2005 for help that never came and thousands of our people died. We’re determined to make this tragedy a story of a community that pulled together.
The biggest reason President Obama should stay away, though, is because we need to get away from this mindset of having a mommy or daddy to comfort us when something goes wrong. Not everything bad that happens in this country should be a national crisis or tragedy. Washington, D.C. and politics itself will not be what fixes our country during this time of upheaval and divide. The only way to make things better is for Americans to pull together and save it themselves.
That is the real lesson out of Louisiana.