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Hurricane #2: Are We Learning?
by Philip A. Farruggio
September 8, 2004

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I live in Volusia City, on the eastern coast of Central Florida, hard hit by both Charley and Frances. As we watched out the window of our modest home Sunday night, we could see the impact that 20 plus hours of driving monsoon rain can have. We observed how the "lake", once our street, continued to rise and rise, creeping slowly towards our door. Two of our neighbors, policeman that have been renamed "first responders," valiantly worked on cleaning the storm drains down our street. Their drenched bodies cared not for anything but in stopping this coming flood. Then, as if on cue, the power throughout our neighborhood went dead. Hours later, feeling like days of darkness and heat, we trashed our refrigerator and freezer -- leaving us with a gourmet meal of baked beans and baby peas.

We were the lucky ones! When this current "shock and awe" ended, we drove, with our neighbors Lou and LeeAnn, through the rain and wind ravaged surrounding subdivisions -- what a mess! Flooding had destroyed homes and submerged entire streets. No one had power, few even a phone that worked. Debris from trees, roofs and homes littered our streets, as if a bombing attack had just occurred. All I could focus on was how did the millions of Iraqis handle months of such an aftermath of no electricity, sanitary drinking water, or transportation. How did our 150,000 plus young soldiers handle the order to patrol similar (if not worse) roads and streets -- thinking that the next bullet fired by an insurgent's gun would find them returning home shattered or in a body bag -- the one our President refused the media to film.

What if a different kind of administration had been in power since 2000? What if the $200 billion we threw down this "black hole" called preemptive war and crony contracts, what if it was spent differently? What if we had, here in Florida, thousands more of our National Guard, to act quickly and decisively combating these two attacks of nature -- and not diverted to the sands and rubble of Iraq, in harm's way? What if we used some of that $200 billion to hire millions of more first responders, ready to do what my two nice police neighbors did? What if more of that money went to help Florida improve its infrastructure, so that floods and power outages were the minority, not the majority? To my friends and others who supported (and still support) this President, are you learning?

P. Anthony Farruggio is the founder of ProActivists of Volusia County, FL,  a progressive action group.  This Brooklyn, NY born, bred and educated (Brooklyn College '74) son of a longshoreman has had over 40 columns posted on progressive sites and newspapers since the 2000 election, including Counterpunch. He can be reached at

Other Articles by Philip Anthony Farruggio

* The Eye of The Storm
* The Real Reagan
* Oh What A Lovely War -- One Year On
* Medicare For All: Now or Never?
* The Cleaning Lady

* Circuses and Sleeping Giants
Judgment At Bushemberg