I saw a ghost in New Orleans

Medical attention was available but couldn’t be delivered. Death by starvation and dehydration was imminent as the days dragged by without relief. Everyone knew what was going on yet no one seemed able to do anything about it. In an unprecedented, emergency session the President and Congress of the U.S. acted decisively to preserve life.

And critics loudly protested this federal intervention as a usurption of state powers and unwarranted intervention into personal rights, the local authorities refused to act on the federal mandate, and Terri Schiavo died.

Now many of the same voices are blaming the federal government for not overriding the authority, responsibilities and policies of the city or state government to protect its citizenry. Certainly some of these citizens who refused to evacuate in advance of Katrina voluntarily accepted the consequences of their decisions just, as some claim, as Terri Schiavo did. Others who were weak, vulnerable or incapacitated had no choice but to be at the mercy of the actions or inactions of others. That, too, should sound familiar.

One Answer

The Answer
by Rudyard Kipling

A Rose, in tatters on the garden path,

Cried out to God and murmured ‘gainst His Wrath,

Because a sudden wind at twilight’s hush

Had snapped her stem alone of all the bush.

And God, Who hears both sun-dried dust and sun,

Had pity, whispering to that luckless one,

“Sister, in that thou sayest We did not well —

What voices heardst thou when thy petals fell?”

And the Rose answered, “In that evil hour

A voice said, ‘Father, wherefore falls the flower?

For lo, the very gossamers are still.’

And a voice answered, ‘Son, by Allah’s will!'”

Then softly as a rain-mist on the sward,

Came to the Rose the Answer of the Lord:

“Sister, before We smote the dark in twain,

Ere yet the stars saw one another plain,

Time, Tide, and Space, We bound unto the task

That thou shouldst fall, and such an one should ask.”

Whereat the withered flower, all content,

Died as they die whose days are innocent;

While he who questioned why the flower fell

Caught hold of God and saved his soul from Hell.