Mother Nature herself has just cast an early vote and she didn’t need an ID. This time her alias was “Sandy” although she’s been known as “Katrina,” “Irene.” “Andrew” and “Floyd.”
After Hurricane Sandy http://www.redcross.org/ sandblasted the East Coast riveting the entire country into reality – up close and personal – we are all left to ask some pretty serious questions. Questions like: What, as a people, are we doing to exacerbate nature’s fury? How can we change course? What role does government play in our collective safety and recovery? And who is best to lead us in times of trouble? Irrelevant presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney said:
“President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans… And to heal the planet.” The conservative lemmings taking-up space in the auditorium all laughed on cue.
That quote will hopefully come back to haunt him at the polls this coming Tuesday, as the last thing we need right now is a regressive leader who wants to rollback environmental protections and privatize FEMA when Mother Nature herself has just made her vote public. Mother Nature is her very own gigantic voting block that demands respect, even as people in many polling stations may not have the electricity to exercise their own power to vote.
One presidential candidate stands for exploiting the planet for short-term profits leading to long-term catastrophe in the process of lining pockets. The other candidate is urging us to become the stewards of our planet and to lookout for the welfare of future generations. If Americans are smart (and we haven’t always been) we’ll vote wisely, and rebuild devastated areas with an eye on harnessing clean energy alternatives and limiting construction that’s too close to dune lines. In a perfect world, there would be no construction at all on the barrier islands, but that’ll never happen.
Here in Philadelphia, we were lucky during the storm, extremely lucky. As the hurricane was in progress, no one was fully aware of the devastation until post storm photos of decimated areas like Staten Island started to sink into our collective psyche. During Hurricane Sandy, I was safely hunkered-down in my art studio working on a commissioned painting, not even thinking about how fortunate I am to flip a switch and have the lights go-on, or touch the tap and get clean water. I was hunkered-down, safe indoors with my dog curled-up by my side, fast asleep while people I know personally were cut-off from all communications, heat, power and even basic shelter. Here in Philadelphia we were very fortunate to be spared. The tree across the street came down, but it wasn’t all that tall, 24’ at best, and no one was harmed. But Philadelphia is an inland port bordered on two sides by major rivers, and built on top of a network of underground lakes and streams. Had the storm decided to center itself further west there was nothing stopping it’s forces from doing to us, what it did to Staten Island. It’s something worth pondering…
I sent more money to the Red Cross than I should have, given I don’t have much to spare, still, I urge others to do the same at: http://www.redcross.org/ – There’s a special block at the top of the page devoted to victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Meanwhile, a cold snap followed the storm. This morning I saw a homeless man lying on an outdoor heating vent. He was making odd and tortured sounds. Taking out my cellphone, I called 911 and told them his location. The dispatcher instructed me to ask him if he wanted help and he said he said “yes.” I quick ran home and grabbed an old camel-colored Chesterfield coat I no longer wear. Mice ate holes in the wool and the reweaving wasn’t exactly “invisible.” I dashed back with the coat, and as I bent down to hand it to the man, he said: “No thank you, I’ve never cared for that color.” I guess we can’t always help, but we can certainly do our best to try. http://www.redcross.org/