The Government's Lack Of Preparedness For Hurricane Harvey Is Inexcusable

The Government's Lack Of Preparedness For Hurricane Harvey Is Inexcusable

We've known for years that Houston was due for a massive storm and yet we did nothing.
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In March, 2016, independent journalism organization ProPublica ran a story in conjunction with Texas Tribune entitled "Hell and High Water" about the state of hurricane preparedness in Texas, and especially in Houston.

The article was heavily researched and included quotes from interviews with public officials from both parties, scientists, businessmen and women, heads of agencies, and other experts. It was focused around Hurricane Ike, which hit in 2008, the potential for a much stronger and worse hurricane than even Ike (which caused the third most damage in US history behind Katrina and Sandy), and the city and state's total lack of preparation and preparedness since Ike hit.

I stumbled upon this article just a few days ago while reading a "Best of 2016 Journalism" list compiled by Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic, and was shocked and appalled. I was incredulous at a city and a state's total unwillingness to do something, anything to prepare for something they knew was coming.

In the article, Phil Bedient, the co-director of the Storm Surge Prediction, Education, and Evacuation from Disasters Center was quoted as saying, "We're sitting ducks. We've done nothing. We've done nothing to shore up the coastline, to add resiliency...to do anything."

Later in the article, the authors note, "Six count executives formed a coalition in 2010 to study the issue, but for years it had no funding to do so."

Look, I know that no amount of preparation, preparedness, or precaution could have totally prevented the disaster that Hurricane Harvey is and will continue to be for so many people whose homes and lives have been wrecked. I know that natural disasters are not preventable and that no matter how much preparation Houston could have done, there still would have been massive damages and costs on both an economic and human level. But we could have done so much better.

Seemingly everyone in both the scientific and political community knew that Houston and the state of Texas were at great risk of a dangerously large storm hitting sometime in the foreseeable future and, yet, they did practically nothing.

There has been much politicizing--for better or worse--of certain aspects of this storm, but this lack of regard for the risk to people in communities now devastated by Hurricane Harvey knows no political party. Both Democrats and Republicans alike are to blame for the government's inexcusable lack of action and preparation.

The fact that we knew that this was coming, that we knew the risks of people losing their homes and their lives, that we knew whole communities would be crippled and devastated possibly beyond prepare, that we knew and we did absolutely nothing to try to alleviate the inevitable pain and suffering this storm would cause makes me sick.

America is supposed to be a great country, a country whose government cares for and about its citizens. In Houston, this vision of America failed.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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There Are Detrimental Side Effects Of The Government Shutdown

While the government has shut down, the lives of 325 million Americans cannot.

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What exactly is a government shutdown? With everyone talking about it, it might be difficult to fully get a grasp on what exactly it means for the government to shut down. A government shutdown occurs when certain parts of the government—mostly nonessential offices—close due to the inability for Congress to develop and agree on things like budgets and funding. Since certain groups and offices don't receive funding as a result of this political dissonance, they shut down. Currently, the government has shut down as a result of Congress being unable to produce the funding requested by President Trump to build his border wall—a vast sum of approximately five billion dollars.

Now, a shutdown, by definition, may not sound like much. After all, life seems to go on, doesn't it? For those unaffected, the government shutdown may just be words you hear while flipping through channels. However, the government shutdown is affecting the lives of 800,000 federal workers, and this number may only increase as the shutdown progresses. It is estimated that about 380,000 of those affected are on unpaid leave, meaning that government workers are doing their jobs without receiving their due income. This makes them unable to provide for their families—the sole purpose for working—which inherently puts things like buying groceries and paying rent on an unattainable level.

Those workers aren't the only ones affected anymore, either.

Currently, the government shutdown of 2019 has become the longest government shutdown in United States history, directly affecting upwards of 800,000 people and continuing to affect many more. With government agencies such as the Transportation Safety Administration (or TSA) shutdown, the spheres of our typical lives that we take for granted are directly hindered. Traveling—as many people are, for reasons varying from going or returning from vacations, to students heading back to school—has become a much more unruly process. The government shutdown has caused for a significant increase in flight delays, as well as longer waits through security checkpoints due to the lack of TSA workers in airports around the country. Multiple airports have closed whole concourses as well to accommodate for the absence of workers. There are also safety concerns as well: one passenger aboard a Delta flight to Japan carried a firearm with her.

The government shutdown is not quarantined to the nation's capital and its various agencies. Organizations responsible for ensuring the safety and efficiency that so many of us take for granted have been infected with this spreading epidemic as well, and there does not appear to be an end in sight. National parks are getting vandalized and becoming impassable due to weather conditions normally cared for by employees. While high-risk foods are being inspected by the FDA, many inspections have been halted as a result of the shutdown.

And yet, this government shutdown seems to be an impossible situation. The only way to end it is to provide funding for Donald Trump's wall, some way or another. But what would that accomplish, aside from lifting the shutdown? It would contribute to volatile foreign affairs, the alienation of entire nations and ethnic groups, not to mention the execution of a xenophobic and racist act that shatters the liberties immortalized by the United States.

As the government shutdown enters its twenty-fifth day, citizens and government officials alike turn to one another in order to put an end to this plague—and any toxic, hateful, and dangerous side effects that may come with it.

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