07 September 2005

President Bush, call Oprah. By Maureen Ryan (Tribune)

In New Orleans, talk-show host gets to the heart of the matter. Can someone tell President Bush to call Oprah?

In her response to the Katrina disaster, the talk show host got everything right.

In the episodes that aired Tuesday and Wednesday, Oprah once again proved why she's the best at what she does. She went to the Superdome. She heard firsthand about what went wrong from New Orleans' chief of police and mayor.

She hugged evacuees -- as Bush did as well on his visits to the region -- but then she stayed. She listened to the stories of horror and rape and loss and heartbreak.

After grieving and listening, she began her giving. And Oprah knows a thing or two about giving.

Oprah and various celebrity friends went to work at various evacuation centers across the South, bringing in truckloads of supplies, water and clothing.

Faith Hill sang "Amazing Grace" with evacuees by the side of a road in Mississippi. Lisa Marie Presley, wearing sweats and no makeup, bought diapers and T-shirts at Target. John Travolta delivered tractor-trailers full of food and drink.

"I felt helpless, and I wanted to do something," she explained at the beginning of her Tuesday program.

And when Oprah wants to do something, it gets done.

Of course, governmental agencies, the Red Cross and other charities are giving away meals and other essentials, and have been doing so for days.

But Oprah's impromptu gifting of the Katrina victims -- getting all those supplies to the region quickly, and getting herself to the heart of the madness as well -- demonstrates that where there's a very powerful, very determined will, there is a way.

Armed soldiers didn't want to let her in to the Superdome, but Oprah, being Oprah, got in, and showed viewers the mountains of garbage and debris left inside.

"You know, this is what I'm now just getting, standing in urine and water and feces and stuff. This is what I'm now just getting. It is dark in here, and it was dark the whole time," she said.

Why is it that Oprah Winfrey has looked upon the horrific conditions inside the Superdome, but our president has not?

So far, Bush has only visited New Orleans' airport. Not the city itself.

That task was left to Oprah, and to the dozens of journalists who braved the perilous conditions New Orleans over the past 10 days.

She didn't stop at the Superdome. In the two episodes broadcast Tuesday and Wednesday, Oprah and her "Angel Network" friends made it to refugee centers in the region, to New Orleans and to various devastated towns in Louisiana and Mississippi.

She covered a lot of ground, and people wept when they saw her.

Never has Oprah's penchant for giving things away been put to better use.

And she's Oprah, so please, don't tell her that getting mad about what happened post-Katrina is part of some "blame game." This is the woman who taught Dr. Phil everything he knows, so when Oprah gets mad and tells people what's on her mind, everyone had better listen.

"When it comes to what happened, and didn't have to happen, to children, it's pretty overwhelming," Oprah said, fighting back tears on Tuesday. "It makes me so mad. This makes me mad! This should not have happened."

Oprah's biggest gift may just be telling those in power what many of us in her viewing audience were already thinking.

As an aside, the day after the Netherlands experienced a flood of biblical proportions in 1953, Queen Juliana and her mother, Queen Mother Wilhelmina, waded through the flood waters in rubber boots to support those who had lost everything. Why did Bush will only get as close as the airport?

1 Comments:

At Wednesday, September 07, 2005 5:53:00 PM, Blogger KAS said...

Haha ya he should give her a call, anything would help him...

 

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