What leadership looks like

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh addresses Queenslanders about the 2010–2011 floods

13 Jan 2011: Queensland Premier Anna Bligh addresses Queenslanders about the 2010–2011 floods.

While continuing to watch the floods in Queensland, I’ve also been paying attention to other news — floods elsewhere, but also the reaction in my own country to the mass shooting last Saturday in Tucson.  As I tweeted today, I have nothing to say about Sarah Palin’s “blood libel” speech yesterday morning except to say that it contrasted poorly with the speech made last night by President Obama in Tucson. Thank you, President Obama.

Because I am following news on the Queensland floods, I also saw other examples of leadership yesterday — especially by way of public briefings by Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and other Queensland officials to update Queenslanders on the flood situation in the vast northeastern Australian state.

Watching those briefings, I remembered the problems that hit the Lower Yukon River back a couple of years ago, before Palin had quit her job as governor of Alaska.  I know hardly anything about Anna Bligh, her political stances, her career, even what party she belongs to (but here’s what Wikipedia says about her). Little of that political crap matters at times like this.  What would it have been like for the predominately Alaska Native villagers of the Y-K Delta to have back then, the same quality of state-level leadership that Queenslanders have today?

Contrast & compare.

Here is the briefing that particularly stood out for me yesterday. The entire briefing is well worth a watch; but in particular, see beginning at about 11:47, when Anna Bligh addresses all Queenslanders affected by the floods — which is to say, all Queenslanders.

Media Conference with Premier Anna Bligh
Thursday, 13 January 2011, 9:30 AM (Alaska time: 12 Jan 2011, 2:30 PM)
Courtesy Queensland Police Service

As we weep for what we have lost, and as we grieve for family and friends, and we confront the challenge that is before us, I want us to remember who we are: We are Queenslanders. We’re the people that they breed tough north of the border. We’re the ones that they knock down and we get up again.  I said earlier this week that this weather may break our hearts — and it is doing that — but it will not break our will, and in the coming weeks and the coming months we are going to prove that beyond any doubt. Together, we can pull through this, and that’s what I’m determined to do, and with your help we can achieve it.

Today’s tweets (because this was originally a “Daily Tweets” post) —

  • Still watching @QPSmedia @brisbanetimes @couriermail on Brisbane/Queensland floods & recovery, but won’t retweet extensively. Go Queensland! #
  • Floods in the news: beside Queensland & other parts of Australia, there’s catastrophic flooding in Sri Lanka & Brazil. #fb #
  • @kelleyeskridge I hear you! I got hacked 3-4 mos. ago. A pain. Upgraded my plan for > security & I’m very on top of backups now. Good luck! in reply to kelleyeskridge #
  • Brisbane & Queensland floods photos: before and after the water rose from @couriermail. http://bit.ly/gnNAce #fb #
  • I have nothing to say re: Palin’s “blood libel” speech yesterday except that it contrasts poorly w/ what Pres. Obama said last night… #fb #
  • … Palin also contrasted poorly w/ leadership shown by Queensland Premier Anna Bligh during 2 briefings I saw yesterday re: QLD floods. #fb #
  • Iif catastrophic floods as in Queensland had happened in Alaska when Palin was gov, all she woulda done was call in Samaritan’s Purse. #fb #
  • … Just like what she actually did when Alaska Native communities on the Y-K were suffering from guess what catastrophic flooding. #fb #
  • Speaking of QLD Premier Anna Bligh, live media conference happening now #qldfloods #thebigwet http://fb.me/A0MB1VHA #fb #
  • @907natalie Where is all this new astrological sign info coming from that people are tweeting about today? I’m a Pisces & I’m sticking to it in reply to 907natalie #

Background note: Samaritan’s Purse

A friend asks, what’s Samaritan’s Purse?  Per Wikipedia’s article on it, it’s “a non-denominational evangelical Christian humanitarian organization that works worldwide to assist people in physical need alongside their Christian missionary work. The organization’s president is Franklin Graham, son of Christian evangelist Billy Graham.” Prominent antigay pastor Jerry Prevo of Anchorage Baptist Temple is a board member of the organization.

I was factually slightly off in my tweet: it wasn’t directly in response to flooding that then-Gov. Palin called in Samaritan’s Purse to accompany her on a visit the Yukon River villages of Marshall and Russian Mission in February 2009, five months before she announced her resignation as governor. It was in response to Lower Yukon villages — accessible only by airplane or boat (in summer) & snowmachine (in winter), whose predominately Alaska Native residents are largely dependent on subsistence hunting & fishing — running out of fuel & food that winter.  Here’s some reading:

In December 2010, Palin traveled to Haiti with Franklin Graham of Samaritan’s Purse. AKMuckraker’s piece on it also talks about the 2009 visit to the Yukon:

Again. Contrast & compare. I’m grateful that my friends in Brisbane & Ipswich & everyone throughout Queensland have real leadership in this time of crisis.

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