Maybe there is some hope for FEMA if they can get more directors like Craig Fugate, though we’d still be better off under local control as opposed to a Big Government apparatus.
FEMA can be a scourge in an emergency. The paperwork for funding after an emergency was enough for many on Long Island to forego any help from them after Hurricane Sandy. Others waited a year or more for help while their houses remained flooded.
When Mitt Romney was running for president, he said that he’d like to eliminate or reduce FEMA and return control to local jurisdictions. When the Big Government lovers at the New York Times asked him if he wanted to return control to the states, he said:
“Absolutely,” he said. “Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.”
That left them aghast, that and when he said it’s “immoral” for the federal government to do all these things if it means increasing the debt.
The Times insisted his idea was “absurd” and went on to praise the Jimmy Carter invention of FEMA. Big Government they said is needed for Big Storms. Catchy!
Republicans are against aid for poor people and those who make poor decisions, according to the Times.
No to the former and yes to the latter. Of course Republicans want the poor helped, not so much people who decide to gamble without insurance or build in a spot that’s known to go underwater.
In 2013, Republicans in the Senate, including Rand Paul, put in a bill to abolish FEMA.
Rand Paul said that “It used to be that churches and volunteers handled natural disasters. Nowadays we have teams of so-called experts and scientists and professional disaster relief engineers.”
“It’s dangerous to stop depending on your friends and neighbors and start depending on the cold, long arm of the federal government. I can’t think of anything my local pastor and a couple of strong young men can’t handle. Can you?”
He was roundly criticized for his comments as were all Republicans.
Fast forward to today and listen to what a favorite Obama FEMA director is saying about employing the help of the community and not treating people as victims.
Craig Fugate, a director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, was interviewed by the left-wing publication The Atlantic and said he believes in a “whole-community response,” that seeks to decentralize disaster management from the federal government and involve the private sector, volunteers, and private citizens.
His views based on experience focus on people affected by catastrophes as resources, not victims.
We looked at them as, We must take care of them, because they’re victims. But in a catastrophic disaster, why are we discounting them as a resource? Are you telling me there’s not nurses, doctors, construction people, all kinds of walks of life that have skills that are needed? “Post-traumatic stress” was this huge thing we had created to describe what people are going through in disasters, and how disasters are so traumatizing and leave lifelong scars, but when you started reading the research, it said for most people that’s not what happens. Certain symptoms you go through are quite normal, and we should be normalizing that, not making it exceptional. The best way to reduce the long-term impact is to get people back in control.
Rather than take control away from them, he went to the language of the behavioral sciences. “Quit referring to people as victims and call them survivors.” He said the first responders are the neighbors, bystanders, people willing to help.
If only all Big Government directors could be so enlightened. If a Republican politician said this, he’d be fodder for the Democrat grist mill and it is nice hearing it from an Obama appointee. It would be even nicer, if they were reduced to mere overseers – one can dream.