Sunday, August 7, 2011


Crisis Communications is a required subject to achieve a “Certificate in Emergency/ Crisis  Management”. Most bureaucrats and politicians are trained in the subject. I became increasingly interested in the subject when the Director of FEMA had to resign in the high of the Katrina response. As I recall the TV clip, he was more interested in the color of shirt that he was going to wear for the interview, and spent precious hours with previous appointments that had nothing to do with the thousands of people displaced from New Orleans in the aftermath of Katrina.

The last week has been a time of crisis in the United States, and very little crisis communication has taken place between those that created the crisis that has sent millions of Americans on the road to despair. We began with the approval of laws regarding the external debt of the United States, continued with a down turn in the market, leading to a decrease S&P credit rating the rating of the United States to AA+.  The politicians decided that they needed a rest, and so Washington closed down for a five-week rest, where members of Congress went back to their District or on junkets so that they could conjure new ways to continue to take money out of the common man’s pocket. Thank you God!!! Between the rightist from the Tea Party, the Moderates from both parties and the populist from the left only God knows what now measures they would have concocted to “save the country” that would have resulted in greater calamity for the American people.

While politicians covered or scratched each other’s back, the real Americans, the patriots were at work. Yesterday morning we woke up to the news that 30 Americans had lost their life in the battlefield. All the President could offer to those American families that have been sacrificing so much was an a acknowledgement that their dear ones had fallen in the battlefield. I wonder if, whether or when the Nation will honor those heroes with the same intensity as that wasted to make a political point in the Halls of Government the last few weeks. You see most of those men were “Navy Seals”, heroes only known to God!

Crisis communications suggest that in spite of great odds and difficulties the interlocutor has to provide accurate and timely information. It also recommends that for the well-being of all communication has to be such as to create an environment that fosters safety, connectedness, and has a calming effects on the individual and the community as a whole. It further suggests that a small group of people will be so affected that they may need to be referred for psycho-education and/or professional assistance.

Well the time has come to acknowledge that crisis communications have failed; there is a perception that government has failed its people (except the rich and power brokers). There is no longer a feeling of safety in our country. Those who can defend us are deployed half way around the world, and they too have been led down by the chain of command. There is no calmness, joblessness is on the rise, the economic measures suggested by the President have not worked, State governments are shutting down, elected politician are running away to other States so that they don’t have to make hard choices, the blame game is being played all over. How can we be calm? To boot, the programs that are being earmarked for cuts are the community mobilization, community clinics, and community mental health.  What are the elements of psychosocial support needed in such a sick environment?

Fortunately tomorrow is Monday, a new week begins with people in the corners of little towns and cities and freeway exits with cardboard sign saying “Handiman, busco trabajo!”.  Farmers will be cited for providing employment to children. And yet, another committee will be formed to offer solution to the psychosocial support needs of our population. 

All the while politicians and CNN, will continue, under the guise of transparency, to inflame the psyche of the common man/woman, probably increasing the symptoms of high blood pressure, heart conditions and strokes, while the politicians in Washington continue to fund raise for the next election and reduce the funds for physical and behavioral health programs, and many of our heroes die in the battle field to preserve freedom, safety and our rights of free speech. This is the American Way!!!

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