Citizenship, Hurricanes & the American Spirit


Thanksgiving is a season and particularly a day we recognize our bountiful blessings and the responsibility we have to fellow travelers in the journey of life. Citizens, by definition, bear responsibility for the network that holds us together, and our recent election divided us over the level of responsibility voters felt must be borne by citizens.

Many voters felt that their responsibility was only measured in the tax burden they are expected to bear. That approach to participation in society during this holiday season marks these citizens who wall themselves off from the spirit and soul of our national tradition. Some chose to rationalize their lives in such a way that limits their family and friends from experiencing the richness of the American Spirit.

This season is a time to reexamine our record as well as a time to recommit to personal and larger community goals. It would be easy to focus on single successes or failures, yet miss the many spheres we touch and relationships that exist in our daily rituals. We touch many circles that opportunities for enhancing a “greater good” are continually within our reach. Yet there is always a tendency is to allow “The Best” to be the enemy of “The Good.”

Many Louisiana citizens still suffer from the 2005 Hurricane Katrina disaster, and America remains focused on recovery efforts from Sandy along the east coast. Both were historic disasters from which the American will was and still is tested. Many lives and families were destroyed and others are on the edge.

As a nation we learn and grow despite these horrendous disasters. A national lesson should be to not commit similar errors again in community planning and preparation for disasters. We may be making progress on this front, but these are hard lessons and failures to admit. Long range planning and preparedness must not allow greedy developers to hold sway over boards and permit granting authorities.

Failure to follow well-developed policies cannot be the American way. We are thankful for our rich heritage and pray to recommit to learn from our past and build a better future.

May you and yours have a Blessed Thanksgiving!