Monday, September 01, 2008

May Day

No, not the international distress signal, Mayday, but May Day. It's the international version of Labor Day. Actually, our establishment of Labor Day as a federal holiday predates the Soviet Union by nearly a quarter of a century, so it's inexact to say that it is meant as a substitute for the more politically charged May Day. Still, if having an end-of-summer holiday prevents all of you from becoming Bolsheviks and anarchists, it may be a good thing.

I thought about writing something light-hearted today, but the other Mayday intervened. I'm watching the Weather Channel's coverage of the landfall of hurricane Gustav near New Orleans. The levees have held so far, but this really doesn't seem like a day for levity.

There's been some criticism of politicians either visiting or not visiting the area. I really don't care about your political affiliation, but allow me to tell a story.

I was in Oklahoma City after the bombing, doing relief work with the Salvation Army. The city center was chaotic with activity and at least 3 security cordons surrounded the Murrah building. But over the weekend, President Clinton arrived to view the disaster. His presence caused some work to slow down, and his security caused some other disruptions. All in all, it would have been better if he's stayed away.

So rest assured that in New Orleans this week, politics should take a back seat to rescue and recovery. The smart thing to do is to let the first responders do their jobs without any distraction.

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