Hurricane Sandy's Aftermath, NYC! The Beat Goes on to the Drum of Election 2012
The nation and the global community have seen the incredible pictures of the havoc unleashed by Hurricane Sandy on the coastal areas of New York City, which until now has not experienced such widespread devastation as a direct result of any hurricane or storm, including Hurricane Irene which smashed upstate New York last year. The clean-up has just begun. Bodies have been pulled out of surrounding water and discovered under disintegrated homes and debris fields. The death toll in New York City has reached 42.
The lack of power to New York City's coastal areas of Staten Island, Queens and Brooklyn and the initially diffused response by the city government contributed to making residents feel that they were forgotten and had been left out in the virtual cold and outer darkness of hell, looting and damp. As the outer boroughs rebound through the tireless efforts of first responders, neighbors, volunteers, non profit groups, the Occupy movement and FEMA assets, and as the city moves to relocate 49,000 in the projects around the city, gradually, residents are beginning to feel less neglected. but the heightened anxiety, fear, sense of desolation and stress is palpable even though Election Day hoopla has swamped the media and we see less of the news focusing on Sandy's victims.
Though the polls are crowding with voters, and those displaced by the storm are not disenfranchised, as a result of Governor Cuomo's Executive Order (Victims can vote at any polling place in the city with an affidavit, though they cannot vote for local representatives.) the devastation continues and Election Day heightens victims' fervency about their elected officials and politicians' competence in times of disaster. The hurricane and its aftermath have armed New Yorkers for bear. Victims are desperate for advocacy and help from a Federal Government that is not one obviously supported by wealthy lobbyists, elites and plutocrats and a president who is planning to cut them off because he and his supporters view them as lazy shirkers looking for handouts and entitlements.
These New Yorkers, many of whom have lost everything understand that they have not even arrived at step one of recovery. The storm has reconstructed the coast, making once idyllic water views into unrecognizable sand dumps, oily standing water ponds and broken dreams for its former inhabitants and recreational vacationers who will not visit its shores any time soon. Burnt, crumbling heaps, four foot sand dune roads and floating and beached debris fields are so widespread, the damage to structures and infrastructure so severe, it will take herculean efforts and billions for the federal and state governments to reconstitute these communities to their former glory, if indeed, they can be restored and made safer, so that this "will never happen again." As victims enter the booths, make their selections and bring ballots to scanner machines, you can bet that their concern to put in a president who is responsive to their needs is uppermost in their minds.Continued on the next page