This post isn’t about climate change or dramatic weather events or even that it is winter, yes, just the first weeks of winter. Today I’m writing in response to the ludacris actions of the United States House of Representatives Leadership to NOT vote on the relief bill for victims of Superstorm Sandy. Here is the reaction of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who speaks for many of us today.
Tired doesn’t even cover it! On a very personal level, my mother has been displaced since Oct 27th when I evacuated her from her home on one of New Jersey’s barrier islands. My sister, who is a warrior angel, has been dealing with the paperwork nightmare on my mother’s behalf, working through the FEMA process, meeting with insurance agents, inspectors, investigators, estimators, contractors, and others who are involved in what we hope will result in making my mother’s life whole again. Both my sister and I, as well as our families, have invested thousands of dollars to care for our mother, instead of having her cared for by a system that is worse than broken. If she had been trying to deal with the mound of paperwork this has involved so far, and we’re no where near done, she would have gone over the edge.
If we had not taken these actions, more than likely, she would be dead now. She suffers from severe osteoporosis, COPD and is almost completely deaf. She does not adjust to change well, a trait she shares with many elderly people. She would not have gone easily to a shelter, or shared temporary housing and she most certainly would not have been able to maintain her schedule required for meals, medications and maintaining some level of a comfort zone. She would have become beligerent, argumentative and would have given up. She is not alone, only one example of a resident who spent her life saving, working hard, doing the right thing to retire to her dream beach house (a modest historic structure, just for the record) to find her dreams shattered.
Her friends and neighbors have suffered as well, with routines, support systems, health care, educational institutions and basic services all in turmoil. As the mountains of depris have been picked up, finally, they have left behind a trail of smaller depris, resulting in flat tires, damaged roads, and much more clean up to come. Many of the damaged homes have not even been visited by their owners, maybe because of distance, expense or maybe because of despair. If a home is not a primary residence, or have flood insurance, or a multitude of other situations including levels of damage, it may become a complete loss and have to be torn down. It is devastation, and if it does not receive attention NOW, the tourism dollars and the next few summers will be much different. Much of the real impact of Sandy is yet to be realized! The stress is overwhelming and the frustration is rising.
There is such a disconnect between the real world and the people who are currently running our government. The United States Congress is out of touch with the people who they represent. I am one of many who believe they should be stripped of their salaries, benefits and privileges and made to work by the hour, for minimum wage to start, as most of their constiuents do. Only after they produce real results, and only then, should they be given an opportunity to continue in their position of service. And there is the bottom line, service. It is their job to help, to be of service to the people who elected them. If a business EVER handled the operations of their business in this manner, they would be out of business quickly! This is my plea, to help me help you, Mr. Politician, do something for the people devastated by Superstorm Sandy, before its too late! Kudos to you, Governor Christie, for taking a stand on behalf of the people of New Jersey.