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Katrina aftermath

Overwhelmed, yet spiritually uplifted - it ain't easy



I continue holding my breath, over the last days and nights, as I remain completely overwhelmed with a persistent mix of compassion, sadness, dread, and hopeful promise for the people of the Gulf Coast, and New Orleans in particular.

I wanted to write on local issues and ideas of concern, and talk to solutions for so many challenges facing us locally, here in our Central Coast communities.

As every day, there are so many, so many to consider, not the least of which is Los Osos, and its current deeply divisive, persistent and painful battle - emotionally, physically, personally, and politically - to do what is right for all the people in that otherwise wonderful local neighboring community.

But, please do remember... ‘But for the grace of God go I.' We must be sure that this man's inhumanity to man does not happen here, on our exquisite Central Coast. That will not happen here, if we are about good planning and security.

So deeply, personally painful and overwhelming are the sights and sounds coming across our television screens and radios, from our Gulf, that I am profoundly, genuinely, mentally and spiritually immobilized from commenting today on anything else.

I thought today I would say something on labor, but the very embodiment of labor I see is the grateful self-sacrificing labor of so many volunteers and our incredible spiritually and literally uplifting military personnel.

I am even surprisingly proud of many in the media, for their persistent and consistent, self-sacrificing, respectful representation to us of the deeply moving conditions there on the ground, and their obvious passionate commitment to making it better for all the people, so unfortunately now laid out in front of them.

There are certainly no words, and have been no words, for the abject destruction and justifiable disgust seen throughout these last few days due to inexplicable confusion and lack of leadership.

For many days and months to come, there will be much said and definitive analysis about what was worse: the worst Hurricane and natural disaster in our Nation's history , or the indefensible, vacuous absence of any apparent or effective life giving leadership in those first few and most critical days?

It is good not to forget this. Never forget. Nor point fingers and join in the current scurrilous, ill-timed, and ill-conceived blame game. As the one gratefully emergent leader, General Honore, said: "Don't get stuck on stupid."

But, please do remember... "But for the grace of God go I." We must be sure that this man's inhumanity to man does not happen here, on our exquisite Central Coast. That will not happen here, if we are about good planning and security. Planning and first responders will indeed save your life, and that of your dear families, as well as your very human dignity.

There seems to me no greater priority or justifiable lesson from this vast wasteland of personal devastation, unfolding on our television screens, and so deeply and pervasively felt within our very hearts and souls.

We must assure our public-safety personnel, first responders, and ourselves, that they/we have unequivocally the fullest financial support necessary to assure the best proper planning, training, recovery, and care to the citizens we so depend upon and entrust to their care. This must happen here, so that the Gulf Fiasco does not happen here. We must not take them, or us, for granted.

Most certainly of comparable importance, and for which equally there are no words of praise or gratitude sufficient to embrace, is the wondrous, God-gifting work of our military in particular, volunteer organizations such as the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross, the neighboring states and cities, individual volunteers, and our first- and always-responders - our doctors, nurses, drivers, police, fire... all too many to itemize here.

Literally thousands of giving people doing what is right and necessary to save lives and to rebuild lives; offering a sense of nurturing community and human dignity in one of the preeminent spiritual hearts and life-giving industrial and agricultural arteries of the South, and of our nation.

So, for today, it is that labor I want to acknowledge and hold up as our goal, as their labors indeed represent the best of what we are about as humans, citizens, and as the great united nation we are and must always be. A nation admired, envied, and looked up to and emulated around and throughout the world.

And in a coincidentally timely manner to my words here, is the announcement by Secretary Elaine Chao of $62 million in grants to provide assistance through the immediate establishment of temporary jobs, jobs now to create regular income in a most irregular time, getting us through and to our well deserved dreams of tomorrow.

Jobs to rebuild personal and regional economies, so that the South, like the winged Pegasus or ancient Egyptian mythical Phoenix, as historically it has always been, shall indeed rise again, ever more beautiful, and more prepared for its promised future and destiny as a leader and cornerstone of our great nation.

I leave you with these hallmarking words... faith, hope, compassion and dignity, as people return to their lives of healthful and mutually helpful living. I am, and shall remain, in awe of their faith, and their incomprehensible, epic-making resilience.

Don Regan lives on the Central Coast. He can be reached at Drdregan@aol.com.

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