Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ike the Magnifier

Someone once said, (I forget who or I’d give them proper credit), that in a crisis a man is more of whatever he is made of. The coward and the leader each in his turn is clearly seen, and so too all promises are made sound or false as they are tested by the crucible of events. A hurricane is certainly such a crucible, and I have noted certain truths from the past week which might be of interest to the reader.

Here in the Houston-Galveston area, we saw all sorts of officials this past week. Most of them made no public statements, but simply did their jobs first to get folks ready for the storm, then to assist in the recovery. I have to put up a praise post later, to properly thank some of these largely unsung heroes (if ‘hero’ can be used to mean someone who saves you from a really bad situation, then we had a bunch of ‘em in our area this past week). We also had a bunch of ordinary folks, who banded together as neighbors, co-workers, and just plain folks who helped each other out where and when we could. We also had some noteworthy individuals, and it is that group I want to mention here, as representative of broader types in the public eye:

Mayor Bill White – I picked on Mayor Bill a bit for some of the goofy things he said after Ike hit, but a lot of that was stress and fatigue; the good mayor was present an about eight or nine press conferences a day to discuss recovery and supply efforts for hurricane victims. He screwed up, for example, when he told folks to check online or by phone for relief locations and times, forgetting that at that time only around 10% of the region had electricity and maybe 30% had some kind of phone service. But at the same time, Mayor White was answering a lot of questions and trying to give folks a way to get more information than they were getting from the harried and noisy conferences. While Bill White is a Democrat, I see him kind of the way I see George W Bush, a guy doing his job and basically getting it done, and he does not care who gets the credit.

Judge Ed Emmit – As I wrote before, this guy is a walking waste of taxpayer money. He spend time, more than once, trying to blame other agencies for one thing or another, and basically whining about how tough he has it. I mean, a total loser with nothing to contribute to helping folks find help. Platitudes, excuses and whining. Emmit reminds me a lot of Joe Biden.

Pastor and Narcissist Joel Osteen – Back when Hurricane Katrina ripped through the Gulf Coast in 2005, especially New Orleans, a lot of area churches jumped into action to help folks find relief, shelter, food, and eventually places to live and jobs in Houston. Lakewood Church, however, did none of those things. Well, they say they did help folks, although I could never find any record of them helping any of the evacuees or storm victims. While other churches like the Archdiocese of Galveston, Second Baptist, and Chapelwood United Methodist stepped up and helped out countless folks without once asking for any press or credit, well, Lakewood just did the same-o, same-o, talking big but doing squat. If they were helping folks, it’s sure strange I could never find any evidence of it. I mention that, because all this week I am hearing – once again – about supplies and help from churches like Windsor Village UMC, the archdiocese of Galveston again, Second Baptist again (Chapelwood wanted to help, but took wind and flood damage to the buildings, so they sent Stephen ministers and other volunteers over to Second Baptist and other UMC locations to help). But once again, nothing from Lakewood Church, where it’s all about the talk and not the walk. Ohhh, Lakewood has a link for Hurricane Ike on its website all right … but Osteen is not offering money from his church’s huge bank account. No, he is actually asking folks to contribute. That itself is not so bad, but check out where the money goes … “Joel Osteen Ministries”. Yep, the very same mail and wire address for his other money. Joel feels so bad about Ike that he wants you to make him richer. Every disaster has such vultures, who prey on honest people’s emotions and lie to line their own pockets. People like Osteen, no matter how eloquent and charming, are con men and hypocrites, and I do not have any intention of sugar-coating it.

Governor Rick Perry - I have to say that I have no great liking for Mister Perry, but on this occasion the man did things right. He got things moving, organized things and for the most part shut up and stayed out of the way while folks did their jobs. In this respect, I want to thank John McCain and Barack Obama for not coming into Texas and trying to turn the hurricane into a political football. Folks trying to keep their families safe and sound do not much like some politician coming in like he’s doing anything for them. Sometimes the smart political move is to sit down and shut up.

1 comment:

tari said...

Interesting sort of score card. I didn't know anything about Osteen except that he's a successful evangelical minister of a huge mega church. Thanks for filling me in on the real story. How disappointing.

But the real bedrocks of the communities seem to be the heroes, and thanks for mentioning them.

May God bless you all.