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If It Were Up to Me

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Message Norma Sherry
No, it's not about a game of blame as our representatives and newscasters are working so hard to sell. No, it's about accountability. I yearn for the good ole' days of politicians who actually took responsibility. Remember the plaque on Harry S. Truman's desk: The Buck Stops Here? Well, I want a president who will admit when he's wrong, will fire inept appointees, and a president whose actions we could actually look up to and wish our children would grow up to emulate. I want a commander and chief who stands heads above the rest. I want a leader of the free world who speaks truthfully - always. I want a president that exudes honor and believes in justice for all. It's heartbreaking that we are so far removed from any semblance of what a true leader should be and a republic that performs as it was intended: to protect its citizens.

By now it's clear to anyone who reads that our president new of the risk to the New Orleans levee system years before Katrina. Yet, he stands before us and says, "Who knew the levees wouldn't hold". Instead, now he professes to investigate what went wrong. So, now we have a president investigating himself and a congress investigating themselves. Does anyone see anything wrong with this picture?

And if that weren't enough, now we sent Vice President Cheney to oversee and make certain things get done in New Orleans, Mississippi, and Alabama. Anyone without blinders on would know he's not there to look out for the citizens. He's there for one reason and one reason only. Money. When we decimated Iraq it was Halliburton - Cheney's old firm - that received the lion's share of multi-billions of dollars in re-building contracts. Hmm, I wonder could he have his eye on a new mother load?

The balanced FOX News wants to tell us about the unrest and about the ugly happenings in New Orleans. But they don't tell us about the nursing home nurses and aides that walked out the door leaving thirty helpless elderly residents to drown in their beds. They don't tell us about the three-hundred or more policeman who threw down their badges and walked out of town. Instead were told about looters and gun-toting citizens gone awry. I wonder if left with nothing, with no one seemingly to care, if I wouldn't do whatever I needed to protect and feed and clothe my family.

But in the aftermath of Katrina the generosity and graciousness of others has come to the forefront. Rumor has it that billions and billions of dollars are streaming in to help the beleaguered and displaced citizens. Many very rich notables have reached deep into their pockets. George Clooney gave a million dollars. So did Sean Penn and Julia Roberts. John Grisham gave five-million. Kuwait one-hundred million dollars. The United Arab Emirates a half-billion dollars – and the list goes on and on. Yet, with all this money flowing, not to mention the vast sums from us more ordinary citizens, the displaced citizens are still housed in arenas with cafeteria-style food and a two-thousand dollar debit card.

One young man said now he could begin his life anew. He was thrilled that he now had two-thousand dollars. Perhaps it was more than he'd ever had at one time in his lifetime, but it seems to me that we should be able to do better. These are the poorest of poor: Folks who didn't own a car or couldn't afford a bus ticket or the fuel, if they owned a car, to get out of town. Needless to say, chances are they also couldn't afford insurance or they rented their humble abodes. Why not actually give these people a nest egg. A real chance to pick themselves up and start over again. Perhaps even better then they've ever been before.

If instead of throwing billions of dollars towards temporary housing, filling prescriptions, buying clothes and bedding, and feeding three squares a day, we actually give them money to restart their lives. Would it not be cheaper and more effective if each family without insurance received $100,000 allowing them the dignity to reside in their own new homes, to feed themselves, and care for themselves as they see fit? Or the money was given directly to Habitat for Humanity to rebuild their homes with a stipend to restart their lives their way – making their own choices. Would it not be an act of humanity? Considering all that they've lost, all that they've suffered, and all that we didn't do fast enough or effectively enough, don't we owe them more than a cot in a roomful of other cots?

Instead of heaping more money to organizations why not give it directly to individuals and their families. If it were I, and I had a million dollars I could contribute, I'd pick ten families and give each of them $100,000. If I were Bill Gates or Tommy Hilfiger or Oprah or Diddy or Anheuser Busch or Michael Dell or Phillip Anschutz or Steven Ballmer or Paul Allen or Warren Buffet or any of the Walton's or any other millionaire or billionaire, that's what I'd do. I'd do my best to lift these poor souls who have suffered so needlessly and give them and their families a shot at life.


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Norma Sherry is co-founder of, an organization devoted to educating, stimulating, and igniting personal responsibility particularly with regards to our diminishing civil liberties. She is also an award-winning (more...)
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