Letters to the Editor

Don’t rebuild New Orleans

With two hurricanes battering the Gulf Coast, we need to begin to face the facts: nature will take back her own. Global warming is here to stay and as the ocean temperatures rise, hurricanes will be worse every year. Can we afford to rebuild again and again?

President Bush finally left his ranch and his motor bikes to tell us, “We will rebuild.” (Is that like “we will capture Osama bin Laden.”?) But he didn’t say who will pay for reconstruction. Not his rich friends whose tax cuts he won’t consider rescinding. Not dollars from estate taxes he still wants repealed. Not insurance companies, who are already waffling over definitions (it wasn’t hurricane damage in New Orleans?) and will be bankrupt if they pay all claims.

Will we add to the national deficit by continuing to borrow from China until they own all our assets? How can we afford to rebuild and run a war in Iraq, or Korea, or wherever the president wants to play soldiers? What about protecting his own people against terrorist attack, as he promised? No money for that I’m afraid.

He says we will “cut other programs” but it will be aid to families, Head Start, Medicare, environmental protection he cuts, not big business subsidies. We will all be victims of this disaster.

New Orleans was a beautiful city, but it should never have been built – below sea level, dependent on ever-higher dikes. The dikes were its downfall: the Mississippi, channeled into the deep water of the gulf, could not maintain its protective delta. We need to face the fact — as the Dutch have — that climate is changing, and give the land back to the river. Perhaps we can rebuild this year, but what about next? People may come back, but their jobs won’t; even offshore oil drilling may soon come to an end.

Write your congressman and demand that tax money not be squandered. Use it first to relocate refugees from the storms and provide them with jobs, and second to develop new sources of energy. If the money it would take to rebuild the Gulf Coast were used to fund solar energy research, we would be energy independent tomorrow. The Bush administration must do what is right for all citizens. Speak up for your rights today.

Mary Fiddler

Oak Harbor

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