© 2024 WNIJ and WNIU
Northern Public Radio
801 N 1st St.
DeKalb, IL 60115
Northern Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Lessons From The Hurricanes

These destructive hurricanes have taught us, no -- reminded us -- of two fundamental characteristics of life in America.

First, we are a courageous and compassionate people. First responders risked, and some lost, their lives to save other lives. Ordinary people like the "Cajun Navy" demonstrated extraordinary courage and resourcefulness when every pull of self-interest was in the opposite direction. Companies donated money and materials. Vast numbers of ordinary citizens contributed many millions of dollars almost literally overnight. Courage and compassion characterized the response of Americans.

The second reminder of life in America revealed by these storms is a sobering one. The initial response to disasters such as these is generated and shaped by state and local officials ?because ours is a federal system. Mayors decide on evacuations and curfews. Governors coordinate response policies and call out the National Guard.

Despite all their awesome power and authority, Trump and FEMA are just bystanders when these storms strike. This is what federalism and the Tenth Amendment mean in practice.

State and local officials shape initial disaster responses?, and candor requires us to observe that Texas and Houston got it right with Harvey, while Louisiana and New Orleans got it terribly wrong with Katrina.

I'm Bob Evans, and that is my perspective.

Related Stories