Saturday, December 24, 2005

Great Pains

Last Tuesday the USA Today wrote:

Neither Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco nor New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has articulated a detailed vision for the city's future.
Blanco and Nagin responded:
We are moving forward and rebuilding our home. We trust that Americans will understand if we take great pains to do it right.
Translation: We’re not moving *slow*. We’re moving *deliberately*.

As long as it is not deliberately slow.

The USA Today is correct to point out the lack of a detailed vision. But, that’s easy for them to say. Because they are farther from the disaster, they are more interested in symbolic victories. It would make them feel better if a politician got up and gave an “I have a dream” speech about the future of New Orleans.

When you are living here, you are interested in tangible victories – ones you can feel, like electricity to see, gas to take a hot shower, a place to live, schools to bring your kids to, a hospital to treat your Katrina cough.

We need both. We need more of a vision to make us feel better. And, we need more infrastructure to make our lives better. A leader’s job is to do both.

Though our leaders' views on whether or not to rebuild have been consistent, a vision of rebuilding has been absent. We like the tangible victories, but I don’t think we would mind a little uplifting symbolism every now and then.

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