A few years ago hurricane Katrina left us wondering how such a tragedy could happen in America; not the winds, the rain, or the storm surge, not even the broken levees. The failure and frustrations related to relief efforts are what prompted us to ask how such a thing could happen here. This time it’s the fiasco in the wake of hurricane Sandy. People are without power, water, shelter, and hope. Despite the best efforts of many, and despite the generosity of millions, there is simply not enough being done fast enough to keep children warm and safe at night across New Jersey and New York. New York! Rudy Giuliani, America’s Mayor (so dubbed after 9/11), is blaming the federal government, FEMA, and by extension President Obama. Others are pointing the finger at the state governments of New York and New Jersey, local governments included, for not having plans in place for such an event and for not having the resources required to respond effectively to such a disaster.
But, let us be fair. People are standing on line across the Northeast waiting for gasoline. Gasoline is a commodity that is privately produced and distributed by the private sector—the same oil companies that have been posting record profits throughout the nation’s greatest recession. Government has virtually nothing to do with local gasoline supplies or pricing. In the same light, non-governmental charitable organizations are providing what they can, but it’s obviously not enough. Organizations like the Red Cross are responding admirably—as always. There are web sites, hash tags, text messages and celebrity, all-star, concerts raising tens of millions of dollars for the relief effort. But almost two weeks after the storm there are still families without generators or shelter. Why are we not blaming Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, Target, and every other retailer of basic goods for NOT rolling out the truck convoys with emergency supplies for storm victims? Why are hotels and motels across the region refusing to accommodate storm victims unless they can pay up front (they are not willing to wait for FEMA reimbursement)? Take notice people.
We live in a nation that depends on the combined capacity of government, the private sector, and non-governmental, not-for-profit, organizations to produce and allocate all of the things we need to live the lives we live. We are just coming out of a long campaign year and we know who the President will be for the next four years. We know which party will control the House of Representatives. And we know we will be subjected to politics-as-usual—both sides arguing about the proper role and size of government. My suggestion: Force President Obama and Speaker of the House, John Boehner, to meet and talk about recovery in the wreckage of a family home somewhere in Staten Island, New York. Surround them with families and small business owners that have been wiped out by the storm (have Mitt Romney sit there and listen just for good measure). And, finally, don’t let them leave until they strike a deal that last longer than the photo-op.
We the People, of the United States of America, in order to
form a more perfect union . . .
- 40,000 Homeless & Freezing in Nyc – Fema Failing Miserably (theburningplatform.com)
- Hurricane Relief: Staten Island, Queens And West Village Residents Feel Neglected In Sandy’s Wake (huffingtonpost.com)
- Giuliani: Where the hell are the generators? (hotair.com)