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Emotions after Katrina

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Message carol wolman, MD
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The emotional trauma of Katrina equals or surpasses that of 9-11. This time we have lost an entire city, a city that rivals New York in its significance to this country as a symbol, a source of culture, a port, a gathering point.

New Orleans has been called the soul of America. From it has emanated the only truly American music- blues and jazz. It has its own cuisine, festivals, heritage. It is also the outlet of the Mississippi, still the major highway for products from the Midwest, such as grains.

We are still in shock, and the major focus is still on helping the immediate victims, those who have lost homes, family members, health and wealth.

The US has been through so many traumas under the Bush regime that we are numb. The assaults on our national character, our Constitution, our budget, our environment, our sense of security, our sanity have been unremitting, and it is hard to absorb yet another.

For what it's worth, I am sorting through my own emotional reactions and sharing them, in the hopes that others will get in touch with theirs. Our emotions are our guide to reality, and without them, we cannot respond appropriately to events. We need to feel our feelings, and use them as our guide.

I feel overwhelming grief at the loss of this beautiful city. I have never been to New Orleans, and always have hoped to go there, preferably during Mardi Gras. I'm sure Mardi Gras will happen again, but will it ever be the same?

I feel incredible wrath at the Bush administration for setting up the catastrophe- by refusing to fund restoration of the levees and wetlands, for refusing to heed the warnings of FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers, the National Weather Service, and other federal and private agencies. Then there is the refusal to acknowledge global warming, and its acceleration by the Bush policy of increasing the use of fossil fuel.

My rage is compounded by the lackadaisical response of the Bush regime to the catastrophe. As I hear the stories of how FEMA actually impeded rescue efforts early on, my suspicion grows that this was a setup. With all the 9-11 questions pointing to complicity of the Bushites in that situation, it is easy for me to be suspicious, and to look for evidence that Bush and his cronies could profit from Katrina.

And sure enough, the no-bid contracts for "reconstruction" are already being handed out to Halliburton and other corporations close to Bush and Cheney. These people are so brazen!

My anger has no bounds. It is unseemly, perhaps- I am often accused of "hatemongering". Yet I feel that there is a bull let loose in the china shop that is our delicate planet, and no one is willing to get it under control.

I have a feeling of helplessness, almost panic. Will Bush get away with yet another atrocity? Will he succeed in "spinning" his callous indifference, his incompetence and uncaring, into "compassionate conservatism" once again? Will the press, which reported honestly for a few days, resume its fawning attitude?

When I feel helpless, I turn to my higher power for encouragement and support. I do this by breathing: In Yah, Out Weh. He gives us the breath of life, and hearing His name in our breath reminds us to appreciate life.

Then I go on working as hard as I can for impeachment, the peaceful, legal, democratic way to get rid of the politicians who serve the corporate beast.

I pray that God knows what He is doing, that Katrina is His way of waking up the American people, at last, to the evil that besets us. I walk in faith.

Isaiah 55: 9As high as the heavens are above the earth,
so high are my ways above your ways
and my thoughts above your thoughts.

In the name of the Prince of Peace, Carol Wolman
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Carol S. Wolman, MD is a psychiatrist in Northern California. A lifelong peace activist, she is helping to distribute a Peace Plan for the Holy Land- email her for a copy. She also a film producer with Paradise Cove Productions, currently (more...)

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