Gordon Mercer and Marcia Mercer Global Digital Post

President Obama Deserves Credit. He Has, "Delivered a Punch" for Gulf Coast Residents in Gaining the $20 Billion Dollar Trust Fund from BP

Notes on Quotes: “I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.” Mother Teresa


Franklin, NC -- (ReleaseWire) -- 06/22/2010 -- This quote is by Mother Teresa (Agnese Gonxhe Bojaxhiu), a Catholic nun, whose unique calling was to live among and minister to the ‘poorest of the poor.’ Mother Teresa’s faith, courage, determination and organizational skills were without equal as she carried out her mission of helping the many ill, destitute and homeless of Calcutta. Armed with a deep faith, she started a school and founded the Missionaries of Charity which, upon her death, had expanded to over 600 missions in 123 nations. Mother Teresa experienced darkness and questioned God at times but with her faith and great will she continued to move mountains.

Today we are facing a challenge as we recently mentioned in our Franklin Press column. The Gulf Oil Crisis is damaging, perhaps destroying a beautiful and fragile ecosystem. It is heart wrenching to watch the pictures of the oil soaked wildlife. Many, many families depend on that ecosystem for their livelihood. What can we learn from this darkness? While we don’t believe God caused this and we are pretty sure our dependence on oil, cost cutting efforts by BP, and failures of Federal inspectors did; we do believe we are expected to fix it.

President Obama received mostly negative responses from his address to the nation. Gloria Borger, a CNN political analyst, thought it sounded like a power point presentation. Analyst David Gergen thought there was no action plan and some thought the speech was too political. We found ourselves agreeing with Billy Nungesser, president of the Plaquemines Parish in New Orleans. He, echoing most of the American public, called for more support, more equipment and especially more action.

Does anybody have a clear idea of who is in charge here? We are told that it is BP’s crisis and BP is in charge and then that the Federal Government is in charge and later that President Obama will assume complete responsibility. It is clear the government underestimated the seriousness of the crisis during the first six weeks. People are losing their jobs in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi as tourism becomes more limited and the fishing boats can’t go out.

Where is our traditional, “can do” attitude? According to Doug Suttles, BP’s chief operating officer, there are over 100 boat oil skimmers, which remove oil from surface water, operating in the Gulf and recently foreign skimmers ( rejected initially)have been added along with fishing boat skimmers. Local officials in Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi desperately call for more skimmers. Oil skimmers work. Why not put in several thousand skimmers to prevent more oil from getting to shore or in bays and marshes?

U. S. Senator George LeMieux of Florida indicated, he thought the U. S. government has 2000 skimmers available and yet Rear Admiral James Watson indicated the U. S. Coast Guard is only asking for 55 more. Mother Teresa organized Missions of Mercy that could deliver food, medicine, equipment, volunteers (usually nuns) and supplies into areas very rapidly. We need her type of organized action. Federal bureaucracy and red tape including, “foot dragging and delay” on wavering the Jones Act to get foreign skimmers present have been a disservice to Gulf residents.

Speeches are only important if they are backed up by action. President Obama has many critics but in gaining $20 billion dollars spread over time to be put in a trust fund for legitimate claims of damage including state and local response costs, he deserves credit. He has, “delivered a punch” for Gulf Coast residents. He must also tame the Federal bureaucracy and get them focused….as their red tape has been a nightmare, and highly visible to the rest of the world.

This is an opportunity for us to think about energy. Why in a country with enough natural gas and alternative sources for energy independence are we unable to adapt? Every President since Richard Nixon has promised energy independence. Every day we watch in horror as more and more oil gushes into the Gulf. We need to send the Gulf more help than is needed, not less. Our dependence on oil as our primary energy source is a raging storm and problematical on many fronts. But we believe Mother Teresa’s words are true, that we have not been given a problem we can’t handle.

Gordon Mercer is international president of Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society and a professor of political science. Marcia Mercer is a writer and columnist. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not reflect the views of other organizations. Go to http://www.notesonquotes.com to review all past quotes, columns and national columns.