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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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The people should rebuild after Katrina

By Jessica Fawson

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of eating dinner at a restaurant with a Southern friend of mine. All my friend’s aunts and uncles had lost their homes and livelihoods and were now living with her parents in South Carolina.

Surprisingly, our waitress was also a victim of Hurricane Katrina, and once both had established that they were from the South, they launched into a lengthy discussion about how much damage the storm had done and what it had taken from them. As I watched the exchange, I was amazed at how much both were still affected by that monstrous storm.

No one needs to be reminded of Katrina-it is still fresh in our memories. The lessons that were learned are not easy to handle.

We learned that race and poverty affect everything and that we cannot rely on our federal government to act quickly and do a good job.

We learned that it was the good people like you and me who donated to relief funds, drove trucks of food and clothes to the stricken areas and raised our voices to our government that finally got something done.

Hurricane Katrina was not our federal government’s finest hour, and we should not forget that lesson.

Now there are some who think that the federal government should step in and rebuild the whole city; I am not one of them. I do not trust the government to do the best job or to be the least expensive or really to get anything right. In the damaged areas, it was not the government that made the most difference-it was individual people.

Private businesses-typically local or state companies that struggled through Katrina-are already beginning to step in, and the money they circulate helps the state recover.

It is neither the federal government’s responsibility nor its place to manage the reconstruction.

It is not its responsibility because we, as citizens, expect it to help a little in the beginning and then back away. The government is the most inefficient means of dealing with the problem. Government wastes money: Just think about all the cruise ships that were chartered but never used.

It is not the government’s place because it already had a chance to prove itself, and it botched it, sending in troops only after the majority of the city was evacuated. If I were there, this is not whom I would want to be in charge of rebuilding my city. Would you?

Let the governments closest to the people help rebuild if it can-the city first, then the county and then the state, and if the state isn’t up to the task (as it wasn’t when the storm hit), then the federal government should help.

We need our government to offer a hand up, not a hand out. Give people the ability to rebuild and stand back on their own two feet.

Hurricane Katrina was marked by a horrible government response, both federally and locally. It was also marked by individual people all over the country who made a difference. Thus, it should be Americans who rebuild, not America’s government.

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