Cheat-Seeking Missles

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Tale Of Two Cities

Here's a bit of a mystery for you.

Consider two disasters of epic proportions, Katrina hitting New Orleans and wildfires hitting San Diego. Both unprecedented in their damage, both offering some warning before striking, both displacing tens of thousands of homeowners.

Consider two stadiums in the heart of these cities, Qualcomm in San Diego and the Superdome in New Orleans. Both equipped to handle crowds, both close to the heart of town and the civic services available there.

At the Superdome, as we know, there was at a minimum of service and supplies and, depending on what news report you read, not much civility or an utter breakdown of humanityt. People waited for to be taken care of, and waited, and waited.

At Qualcomm, we see this:
Bartenders and food servers who usually staff the Qualcomm Stadium Club level have been replaced by doctors, nurses and volunteers. The decor now includes wheelchairs, cots and medical equipment.

The Club level and lounges of the stadium-turned-evacuation center have become a refuge for hundreds of nursing home residents and the elderly who have moved in since fleeing the fires that have ravaged the region.

“I've never seen so many people willing to help out,” said Jean Alaback, who with her husband, Jim, evacuated from the Remington Club retirement center in Rancho Bernardo.

Some nursing homes have moved their residents and staffs into the lounge areas, and cots and wheelchairs spilled out into the hallways outside. Senior citizens living alone also found shelter in the Club level.

A seemingly endless stream of food, water and medical supplies flows to the makeshift care facility. Volunteers and health care professionals show up unannounced offering their services. And worried relatives walk the concrete hallways looking for loved ones. (SD Union Tribune)

And this:

Remember those heartbreaking images of people stranded without goods and services in the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina? Think the exact opposite and it would probably come close to the scene here today at Qualcomm Stadium, the primary evacuation center for San Diego County wildfire victims.

The chairs at the acupuncture/massage station at the evacuation center were constantly full and there were signs giving directions for yoga and meditation classes (sooo, California) and a three-piece soft rock band even serenaded diners who munched on free hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, pasta and salads. Did I mention the stilt-walkers and clown entertaining the kids? (AP Far and Wide Blog)

Of course, in San Diego, there is no "Where's Bush?" screaming from the Left. Well, that may be because he's visiting the fires tomorrow, but more importantly, it's because in San Diego there isn't an assumption that Bush, or the feds, or the state, or the city have to be engaged before caring can take place.

The Left will get all nasty about Bush visiting here so soon when he "ignored" New Orleans -- this from the same folks who say Bush is too stupid to learn from his experiences!

Once they get their messaging together, the Left will probably focus on the "unfairness" that the mostly black temporary residents of the Superdome fared so badly while the mostly white folks at Qualcomm were practically pampered during their evacuation. Surely this must be racism, they'll say, even more evidence of white America's unwillingness to treat blacks as well as they treat their own.

It is neither fair nor unfair; it is merely a fact that is reflective of two mindsets, one Democratic and one Republican, one that expects government to be a prominent provider, and one that would just as soon go it along. Hillary's or Obama's approach vs. Thompson's or Romney's.

Of course, this isn't a perfect parallel because the devastation around New Orleans was much more all-encompassing, making emergency logistics much more difficult. But what is happening today in San Diego goes beyond logistics to the mindset and heartset of the cities' leadership, which in turn reflects the mindset and the heartset of the cities' residents.

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