Posted: August 21, 2016 in Uncategorized
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This will appear in the Farmerville, Gazette, Farmerville Louisiana the week of 8/21/2016.

Last week I discussed Leadership and a gap that we have in our country.  No sooner than I hit the send key on my computer than an opportunity presented itself to prove what I had discussed.

While Leadership is the ability to influence others to work for a common cause, management is defined as “the proper utilization of men, material, equipment and resources to accomplish a goal”.  These are two distinct and different aspects to running a government.

Louisiana is under water; again. Washington has declared its’ support for the devastated state and aid is entering the state.  Is there anything that can be done?   Rhetoric about being behind the state followed by material flowing into devastated areas should be enough; shouldn’t it?  The answer is “no, not nearly enough”.

When hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast the President of our great nation was quick to arrive, was embraced by the Republican Governor of New Jersey and this one act of leadership gave a nudge to a presidential campaign that was anyone’s call.  Louisiana is under water with every bit as much devastation as the Northeast during Sandy yet there was no presidential visit during the height of the Louisiana disaster.  The biggest difference is that the President is not seeking re-election.

In a time of disaster, the mere presence of a leader works wonders.  It reinforces that the down trodden are not being forgotten.  Physical face-to-face visits build confidence and it the true leader that builds this confidence.  While we watched heroic acts of selflessness as strangers dive into murky and muddy flowing waters filled with unknown perils to rescue not only humans but their loved pets; we are treated to images of a president, the leader of our great nation, playing a round of gold at a posh island’s resort.  Images of Nero fiddling while Rome burned crossed my mind.  Though I do not believe that there is a lack of concern for our great state, this perception of indifference has caused a loss of confidence for the office of the President; unfortunately.

Could have his presence in Louisiana done anything to make the physical work go any more effectively or efficiently.  The answer is probably not.  The management of the crisis  is going about as well as it could.  Physical presence would have had the dramatic effect of reinforcing the citizens of South Louisiana that the office of the President of the United States was with them.   This is where the leadership aspect comes in and this is what the disaster crisis lacks from the Federal level.

It was disappointing to hear he Governor of our great and sovereign state defend the actions of the President and justify the decision to not visit the state due to security concerns and lack of adequate staff.  Now that there has been so much ridicule of the President’s absence, we will be graced by a presidential visit.  The security issues should be the same.  We are still under water and the same forces in place a week ago are what is available today for security, only they are now more exhausted.

This upcoming visit will be interesting.  How will the press handle the situation and how will the administration handle the press.  It is a two-edged sword. Donald Trump visited the state and turned news crews away.  He wanted his visit to be personal and not be a media circus nor a part of his campaign.  The President’s visit needs to be captured by the news agencies so that the people of the state see him and hear him.  What it does not need to be is a media circus.  Keep it on task; no political rhetoric please.  We hear enough of that.  The needs of a devastated state have to be addressed and these needs have to fulfilled.    Many Sandy residents suffered for a long period of time waiting for promised Federal relief.

In times of devastation we see people needing a hug receiving  a big embrace.  This hug provides nothing materially but it is so reassuring that someone is there and feels the pain.  A Presidential visit serves the same purpose; a big hug for the state of Louisiana from the President of the United States.



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