My heart goes out to the people whose lives have been devastated by Hurricane Sandy. These people are hurting, and four days later there are hundreds of thousands of people still without power. There’s no gas. There’s no heat. There’s no edible food. If there’s anything left of their homes those homes are now getting covered with mold. It’s almost as bad a scene as Hurricane Katrina was. But there is little media outrage, and no blame whatsoever being passed along to President Obama like it was to Bush after Katrina.
But there doesn’t need to be media outrage against Obama. All people need to do is see the images of despair and destruction, and see that nothing is getting done, to know that the government has failed yet again. President Obama couldn’t wait to put this storm behind him and get back on the campaign trail. Well, this is what he left behind.
1) Virtually every retailer, restaurant and grocery store south of 38th street is CLOSED. This is in an area covering 8 square miles. I only observed a handful of bodegas in Soho and the East Village, along with Ben’s Pizza on W3rd and MacDougal serving customers. Whole Foods Union Square had a sign reading “because there is no electricity, we cannot open.” There is no food, other than what you have in your refrigerator.
2) To that point, there are close to 400,000 people living below 38th street without power. The mayor earlier said it could be 3 days without power; some Con Ed guys I spoke with in the East Village think it could be longer. Nobody knows.
3) No working traffic lights in this region (drivers are generally being cautious and appropriately yielding to pedestrians). Apartment stairwells are pitch black. High rises have no elevator access…
5) There is no running water or flushing toilets for people living in the Jacob Riis Houses and surrounding NYCHA buildings on the Lower East Side. In my estimate, this is roughly 20,000 people. One family I spoke with is packing their bags and moving to Brooklyn until services are restored. But it did not appear that all residents were evacuating, even as their toilets did not flush.
6) I did not witness a single Red Cross Truck or FEMA Vehicle or in lower Manhattan. Recall the assistance these agencies provided after 9/11 – this is NOT HAPPENING. There are bound to be hundreds of elderly people, rich and poor, who live on the upper floors of buildings with elevators that are now disabled. IF POWER IS NOT RESTORED, THIS WILL MOVE FROM BEING AN ECONOMIC DISASTER TO A HUMANITARIAN DISASTER. (Read More)
I’m all about personal responsibility and being prepared in the event of a disaster. But in fairness to the people effected by this storm, it really was something that hasn’t happened in the area in most of our lifetimes. Now we have people freezing and starving and they need help. Where is the president? Where is the governor? Where is the mayor? Obama was in swing states after posing for a few key photo-ops. Cuomo was telling people to calm down. Bloomberg was fretting about a marathon. Sure, they were quick to blame global warming, but nobody bothers to ask them why, if they are such believers, didn’t they do a darned thing to protect the city from the effects of global warming.
This is what happens when we expect too much of government. We want them to take care of our health care, our retirement, our food, our tuition, our birth control, and everything else that you can dream up. Then when disaster strikes we wonder why the government isn’t there to help. People have forgotten what the role of government is, to the point that now government is ineffective and impotent.
Who knows, maybe if those people on Staten Island weren’t such bitter clingers things would be different. But I don’t think so, they just would have gotten a few more photo-ops with their failed politicians.
Update: Linked by American Power – thanks!