The Storm Documentary Hurricane Katrina and Lessons in Federalism



Click on “The Storm” link below to view the documentary about Hurricane Katrina and lessons in federalism.

Write what you learned, explaining how your understanding of the intricacies in the power distribution that exists under American system of government, has become enhanced; comparisons and discussion of struggles between local, state and federal levels of government according to how federalism has manifested into a power tug-of-war in authority, responsibilities, financial obligations, duties, purpose of a government according to creation and constitutional existence, confusion in expectations, ignorance of rules and exclusionary application, boundaries, overlap, limitations, and expectations ; and y focusing on the key questions and themes

focus on applying a philosophical approach of whole community, to identify the success and failures related to Hurricane Katrina. Note the effects, resulting from the confusion that Federalism can cause, when there is no clearly delineated power granted to one level, branch or political officeholder. Also, think about the factors that exacerbated the confusion, especially in the realm of communication. Who was really to blame? What can we learn from this situation? What has the government done to resolve the problems, identified in the video? In the wake of the most recent hurricane, we all experienced, you should be able to apply what you have gone through, to discuss and explain how government has changed, and further discuss whether these changes are for better or worse, in regards to rectifying the confusion that federalism can create. Lastly, despite the challenges federalism presented, in this scenario, can you offer ways, in which federalism, benefits the ideals of a democracy, representation, and principles of majority rule.

Some questions to help focus your reflections and critical evaluation of the movie and prompt.

  1. Why did the communication system break down hours after Hurricane Katrina?
  2. Should Americans expect their government to take care of them in times of disaster, or are they better _off depending on the charity of individuals? Is there even such a thing as genuine charity, or are all acts of altruism inspired by more selfish motives?
  3. Identify and discuss what you knew, what you thought you knew, what you were ignorant of, and what you learned about federalism effect on power struggles between local, state and national government?
  4. What misconceptions did you have prior to the film, about the power of the president, state government, such as governors, local government officials, such as mayors, federal agencies, such as FEMA, and federal elected and appointed officials, within the executive branch?
  5. What lessons do you think were learned as a result of Hurricane Katrina?
  6. Describe a moment or scene in the film that you found particularly disturbing or moving. What was it about that scene that was especially compelling for you?
  7. Complete this sentence: I am inspired by this film (or discussion) to __.
  8. Explain that many local, state and federal office holders have been criticized for their failure to help hurricane victims and this criticism is being called a “blame game.”

Sample Solution