Daily Letters

A selection of letters received.

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September 02, 2005

Where the hell is our government?

Dear Mr. President:

Hi! My name is Shelley Cole and I am a 44 year old, white American female who lives in Jackson, NJ and was always proud to be an American. Well, proud until today that is.

I have never in my entire life written a letter to a government official before. I’m sure you are bogged down by the amount of mail you must be receiving due to the recent hurricane tragedy which hit and trashed our southern states... and they ARE just that, states. (States of a nation...ONE nation....UNITED...under God...indivisible... with liberty and justice for ALL!) I think that our government needs to go back to school and relearn the basic ingredients in the glue which holds this country together.

Tonight, I came home from work and sat at my computer, skimming through news articles and video taped footage and updates on the survivors of Hurricane Katrina. Instead of feeling proud of my country at their quick response in this tragic situation...I was appalled and left feeling helpless, saddened and yes, even embarrassed by what I saw.

The day after the hurricane hit, I was upset that so many people did not heed their government’s warnings and evacuate to higher ground. I blamed them for hindering our rescue efforts... if only they would have listened, we wouldn’t have had to spend so much time and money into the rescue mission and could start cleaning up the city. That was yesterday....today my thoughts have done an about face! The thoughts that keep running through my mind over and over again are... where the hell is our government?? How come we are not helping these people? How come we are not sending troops to help aid our country... our own homeland?? I was not only appalled by what I saw but embarrassed for my country as well.

The videos I saw were not all of the people who needed to be rescued from roof tops but people who trusted in their government. People who did everything they were told to do in exchange for a promise of food, shelter, and water. They trusted in their government... but their government let them down, and now all they see is hunger, thirst, disease and death all around them! This is sad... so, so sad. In a country that is the richest and strongest in the world, we appear to others to be the poorest and weakest.

No doubt, we are in for a long haul, and many years of rebuilding in an area that was populated by some of the poorest people of our nation. But let us not forget that they are U.S. citizens and are entitled to the same rights as everyone else. If we do not get some major relief soon to those people... my fear is that a lot of your hard work will just go out the window. The death toll will rise drastically and we will see racial issues come back into play as well as anger about giving aid to other countries when we can’t even provide aid to ourselves. I, for one will think twice or more about giving any aid to another country. I know I will not be alone in my feelings either. Thousands of people across the country are thinking the same as I right now, the only difference is that I’ve taken the time out to write this letter to you. It’s written from the heart and as the voices of thousands of American refugees, who need your help ASAP.

In closing...one final thought. A question that was posed to me and also the sentiments of several others...if this same exact tragedy had happened in an upper-middle class white area of the country...would it still have taken so long to get aid to the area??? I like to think not.

Thank you for your time,

Shelley
Age 44
Jackson, New Jersey

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