BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi is known for having more than its fair share of great writers. But it's a well known editorial cartoonist that seems to have perfectly summed up the feelings of so many Mississippians when it was announced this week that President Obama would not be visiting the Magnolia State to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
Marshall Ramsey posted an open letter to President Barack Obama acknowledging that part of the decision on where to visit is likely political, but that didn't keep Mother Nature from visiting both of us on August 29, 2005.
Ramsey's Facebook post reads:
Dear Mr. President,
I read yesterday where you're attending a Katrina remembrance in New Orleans. I'm glad you'll be there for the folks in New Orleans. No doubt they have suffered and I know they'll find comfort in your words and you just being there.
I am sorry to hear you don't have time to stop by the Mississippi Gulf Coast. I know you know how good the people are there -- you visited during the BP oil spill and had a sno-cone on the beach.
I really don't know why you're not coming. Politically it might not be a good move. I'm sure the conversation between you and Governor Phil Bryant would be one awkward pause after the other. Or you might be busy -- being President is a full-time job I hear. I'm sure some folks are probably glad you're just doing a flyover -- I read the comments and sometimes they're ugly. Oh yeah, it's easy to point out its not the first time the Coast as been ignored. It's easy to make a Landmass joke right about now.
But let me tell this: You should be proud of the people on the Gulf Coast. They got hammered hard. First by Katrina then by the economy after the BP oil spill. Dealing with insurance and flood plain maps hasn't been a bucket of chuckles either. I don't live on the Coast but have spent a good amount of time there and marvel at the resiliency of the people there. As this country struggles to get back on its feet after the Great Recession, I'd think you'd want to really put that kind of spirit on the center stage.
Hope you have a great trip to New Orleans. It's fun town and the people there need your encouragement. And when you're there, stop into Cafe Du Monde. You'll thank me later.
Signed a guy who draws cartoons about you from time to time.
Ramsey's post seems to have resonated with many frustrated Mississippians, and others. Just hours after it was originally posted, the open letter had already garnered more than 1,000 likes and hundreds of shares.
The cartoonist also wrote about the Mississippi vs New Orleans Katrina debate on his website, MarshallRamsey.com.
"I will never get into the who had it worse conversation between New Orleans and the Gulf Coast," he wrote. "Both got the crap kicked out of them. Both were ignored by the Federal response that was chaotic at best. Everyone suffered. There were heroes and people not so heroic after the storm. That's life - you don't know what is in you until you are squeezed."
"Do I wish the President could have made a stop here and that the people who don't like him could have put that dislike aside? Yes, again. Because this is bigger than politics or regionalism. This is the marking of 10 years since we all were punched in the mouth. This is a celebration of human resiliency."
Read more commentary and see Marshall Ramsey's "Open letter to my friends on the Gulf Coast" here: http://marshallramsey.com/?p=14632