What Trump Can Learn From Hurricane Katrina
As President Trump seeks to maintain law and order during upheavals in major American cities, he would be well served to remember the painful lessons of Hurricane Katrina. In a pivotal moment, at a podium in Louisiana in 2005, President George W. Bush chose not to allow Governor Kathleen Blanco and Mayor Ray Nagin to take the full blame for their poor leadership. As leaders do, Bush stepped in to rescue the situation. Yet, rescuing takes on many forms, and leaders often need to look beyond the immediate to see others in need of assistance.
If only President Bush had said, “Governor Blanco, we respect the sovereign state of Louisiana and do not wish to overstep. We’re ready to assist you with your plan.”
Following that statement, a thirty-second pause to expose the incompetence of the Democrat party leadership in Louisiana would have served as a teachable moment -- and provided a greater rescue. Without compromising relief efforts, Bush had the opportunity to shine the spotlight of truth on the collapse of Louisiana’s Democrat leadership and allow the country to see destructive consequences of liberalism.
The moment passed quickly as Bush tried to play nice with people who viciously turned on him. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina now remains permanently hung around the neck of George W. Bush, while few (if any) remember Governor Blanco and Mayor Nagin.
Now, President Trump faces a choice on whether to weigh in as the heavy or allow the Democrats to own the wretchedness they created and fostered.
If Trump chooses to avoid “rescuing” these liberal states and cities from their own responsibilities, he demonstrates that America works best when allowing individuals, mayors, governors, states, or political parties, to fail or succeed on their own merits. He can walk the tightrope of protecting our history and order, while provide the American people a moment of clarity about the policies of the Democrat party. In our core, America respects merit. When people succeed or are rescued from failure by a rigged system, we instinctively call “foul.” Providing a level playing ground for people to fail or succeed on their own serves as a lasting value of this country. Yet, somehow along the way, the “Declaration of Independence morphed into the “Demand for Dependence.”
The way forward is not to reason with the adolescent mindset gripping so many in our country, but to allow them to fail. Few people ever wipe their brow and exclaim, “Whew! I sure learned that the easy way!”
While often brutal, failure continues to serve as a great teacher. Although one hopes people will learn from history and the wisdom of their elders, reality reveals that some people still choose to “pee on the electric fence for themselves.’
Mark Twain stated, “A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.”
Anyone in a relationship with an addict or alcoholic knows the difficulty in watching others fail. Yet failure and “rock bottom” is what is often required before recovery occurs.
Despite their herculean efforts, our nation’s media cannot erase the pictures of what liberalism is doing to this nation. The only thing that can interfere is if Trump steps in front of the lens. Trump’s hardest challenge may be to not insert himself into the story.
Regretfully, George W. Bush’s attempt to rescue eclipsed the picture of Blanco’s and Nagin’s failures.
The powerful lessons of history may explain why those who wish to control the future often seek to erase the past. During this difficult time in our country, President Trump can certainly protect law and order while wielding the title of “Commander-in-Chief.” Yet his greatest opportunity may be to assume the role of “educator-in-chief” and instruct a nation.
Peter Rosenberger hosts the nationally syndicated radio program, Hope for the Caregiver. He is the author of several books including 7 Caregiver Landmines and How You Can Avoid Them. www.hopeforthecaregiver.com