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Katrina, the Government, and the Lessons of Leadership

By Chuck Pennacchio  Posted by Rob Kall (about the submitter)     Permalink
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In the wake of Hurricane Katrina -- not to mention 9/11, the current Iraq War, and so many other failures of the administration and ruling party in power -- it really is a question of leadership, or lack thereof, in Washington, D.C. Must we all continue to suffer while the right-wing parade of lunatics and anti-Americans rally around the naked emperor? While some may take exception to this type of critique at a time of national crisis, I beg to differ. We are in a national and international disaster zone, much of our own making. Unless and until real voices rise to question, to analyze, and to demand reform at all levels, our republic remains in grave danger -- and the world community, too, that still looks to the United States for hope, inspiration, and leadership.

What we have been living through the last four-plus years is nothing short of perpetual, national and global scandal. Virtually every governmental functon deliberated by the Bush Administration has been politicized, distorted, and diminished. I believe, as both an historian and a citizen-candidate for the U.S. Senate, that this nightmare age in which we find ourselves will be evaluated as the single most cynical and destructive presidency in modern American history -- and, perhaps, in the whole of U.S. history.

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The Preamble to the our Constitution declares that its purpose is "to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity . . ." Given those standards of what the government should do on behalf of all the American people, it is not difficult to demonstrate that the Bush Administration has systematically abandoned every purpose to which the framer's commend us, but none more so than promotion of the general welfare.

Huge swaths of Louisianna, Mississippi, and Alabama are in a world of hurt that first-hand pictures and voices can only begin to describe. In the immediate term, of course, all Americans should chip in however they can to alleviate the ongoing suffering of our national kin. And my campaign is doing precisely that with a volunteer drive, fund raising pleas, and calls for sacrifice on the part of better-off Americans. At the same time, however, what we now bear witness to in the deep South is symptomatic of larger failings on the part of our national government, especially with regard to the general welfare.

Much as the one-party Republican government we continue to endure hides behind the cloth of our flag, the books of our religions, and the corrupt dollars of high-donor contributors, I can't help but return once again to the larger issue, and lessons of, leadership. For without the courage, conviction, and conscience of true national leadership -- that is, speaking honesty and forcefully to both real and manufactured crises -- we are lost as a nation, as a people, as a republic. In consequence, our world spins further into chaos as we fail to address the general welfare -- the general welfare having to do with unjust wars, preventable genocide, AIDS, hunger, living wage jobs, health care for all, a top-notch public education system, a clean environment, scientific discovery, privacy rights, equal rights, voting rights, and the rights of speech, press, and religious freedom.

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It all comes back to leadership...and why I am running for the United States Senate.

Chuck Pennacchio is running in the Pennsylvania primary for US Senate to ultimately run against Senator Rick Santorum . He is the director of the history program of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and teaches American History, National Security studies and Politics in the Media. He was a personal aide to US Senator Alan Cranston, Military aide to congressman Ron Dellums, and organized winning campaigns for senators Tom Harkin, Tim Wirth and Paul Simon.
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