It is always refreshing to read conservative ideals being lauded in a liberal publication, and The Atlantic's interview with Federal Emergency Management Agency director Craig Fugate is no exception.
Staff writer David Graham sat down with Fugate to look back at why the Katrina response failed and discovered that during disasters or otherwise, "citizens can't just wait for the government to save them."
If one reads the interview carefully, it will be clear that though the conversation hinges on natural disasters and the government's response, the long-held conservative ideal of self-preservation of the citizen rises to the top in all its glory. The very ideal that keeps the control in the hands of the public, not sacrificed to a government savior.
Looking back over the Hurricane Katrina disaster, Fugate noted, "We had almost by default defined the public as a liability. We looked at them as, 'We must take care of them, because they’re victims.'" This led him to the logical conclusion that it is the citizen nurse, doctor, construction worker, all servants of the community who are more than willing to rise to the occasion and offer help well before the government, seeing that community as helpless victims, gets itself involved.
“Post-traumatic stress” was this huge thing we had created to describe what people are going through in disasters, and how disasters are so traumatizing and leave lifelong scars, but when you started reading the research, it said for most people that’s not what happens. Certain symptoms you go through are quite normal, and we should be normalizing that, not making it exceptional. The best way to reduce the long-term impact is to get people back in control.
Yet the response Fugate observed by the government during that event "was literally to take all the control away from them."
Read the rest here...