Hurricane Sandy landed cruel and relentless blows to New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut, leaving the lives of millions of people torn asunder. The scenes attest to a weather-related catastrophe not before seen in that part of the country. Elected officials pleaded for those in the path of the storm to evacuate. Some stayed put. Others left their homes. Many prayed the storm would veer away from where they lived. Afterwards, they huddled together homeless and hurting. OUR MEMORIES OF HURRICANE KATRINA ARE AWAKENED AND WE KNOW RECOVERY WILL BE LONG AND GRUELING, TAKING YEARS NOT WEEKS OR MONTHS. Even so, recovery will happen.
Those of us in parts of the country not suffering a direct hit of Hurricane Sandy watch with a sense of helplessness as fellow Americans suffer unimaginable pain. “Not suffering a direct hit” is the phrase to explore. No matter how far away we live from New Jersey, New York or Connecticut, we are drawn close into Sandy’s impact because fellow citizens, perhaps family and friends, are in real trouble and need to know we are there for them. We are drawn into Sandy’s impact simply because we care.
There will be increasing numbers of employers, churches, neighborhoods, associations and individuals organizing assistance drives. CHIP IN WHERE YOU FIT IN. DO SOMETHING! GIVE MORE THAN YOU THINK YOU CAN GIVE OF YOUR TIME, TALENTS AND MONEY.
If you feel disconnected from all of this hurricane stuff, wake up! Recovery from the devastation of this storm is your business and will be your business for years to come. Estimates of damages are averaging 50 Billion Dollars. Local and state governments of impacted areas could never cover such costs. That leaves the federal government. That means you wherever you live.
The least sexy conversation a politician can have is about infrastructure. I remember when Mayor Shirley Franklin took on the sewer system in Atlanta. Few wanted to talk about it. Fewer wanted to pay for it. Resistance did not make the need less critical. Over the months and years ahead, there will be many debates about infrastructure and how certain improvements to infrastructure may have mitigated the blows of Hurricane Sandy. PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS REPEATEDLY ASKED FOR SUPPORT TO DO MAJOR IMPROVEMENTS TO INFRASTRUCTURE ACROSS THE COUNTRY. HIS CLARION CALL HAS BEEN TO DO MUCH-NEEDED UPGRADES AND AT THE SAME TIME CREATE MUCH-NEEDED JOBS.
Technology did its job in giving us early warning of the fury of Hurricane Sandy. Perhaps we are not heeding the real warnings of climate changes that are giving birth to more and more extreme weather systems. STORMS ARE NOT RESPECTERS OF PERSONS. They could care less if you are white or a person of color, if you have a lot of money or are destitute. The storm does not know gay or straight, man or woman, Republican or Democrat. Storms remind us of our connection to the universe. Storms remind us WE ARE NOT IN CONTROL.