It has been just two months since the full congressional takeover by the Democrats. The intense activity since that moment has been as furious as a hurricane. The White House is reeling from the Iraq War quagmire. How do we win? Can we win? How do we get out? How many more must die?
There is also the scandal of the U.S. attorney firings. The sinister scenario of firing someone for not building up a case for prosecution, factual or fictitious, against political foes is a little too much to stomach for the normal human being. But there it is and presidential aids and an attorney general have their jobs and reputations on the line. Congress is not going to let them slide by.
We also have the shock of the White House "dropping a dime" on a CIA undercover operative. Is there no shame or boundaries? Democratic-chaired committees are anxious to find out. One White House official is bound for jail because of this matter.
One thing about this 110th Congress is the fact that there are more Black, Hispanic and/or female committee and subcommittee chairs than ever before. The Congressional Black Caucus alone has five committee chairs and 17 subcommittee chairs. This is not a bad thing! It appears that a lot of neglect and inequities are about to be addressed and that is good for America. The volatile and change-making congressional hearings are again popping up and Black advocates are getting back into the action. Change is indeed coming and change is good.
Now let's talk about the biggest change of all. The chair of the Homeland Security Committee for the House is the Honorable Bennie Thompson of Mississippi and he is not going to tolerate a FEMA that ignores Black folks and treats them like stepchildren. There is a new "sheriff" in town and he is not going to play around like the last one. The transformation of the Gulf recovery efforts has now begun and the people of Louisiana and Mississippi finally have reason to hope.
The Housing Subcommittee also has a new chair. The Honorable Maxine Waters has already started blitzing southern Louisiana. The slow and miserable pace in financing and housing replenishment has turned for the better. This congresswoman will not tolerate malfeasance, incompetence and lack of concern. The money is starting to flow and she considers that a start. Her demand is that the funding and progress start rolling to the people like the mighty Mississippi River. It is her tenacity and vision for what is right that is going to do it. We must support her.
From now until the job is finally done she has pledged to do this: Every Monday morning while she flies back from her home base of Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., she will make a stop in New Orleans and inspect the progress of the Gulf recovery. Each and every Monday there must be signs of progress or those in charge of federal funding will have hell to pay. She is going to, as we say in my old hood, "kick butt and take names." It is rough, ruthless and hard but it is what's needed and this sister is the one who can do it.
The heat is on and that is good for the people.
Mr. Alford is co-founder, president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce.