Saturday, September 03, 2005


I've got the house to myself tonight and I'm practicing living without my family. Lest anyone picture me weeping in the dark and gazing on a picture of my mother, picture this instead: I'm sitting on the couch, eating noodles, watching Rear Window in my "1960s outfit" consisting of cuffed black pants, a leopard cardigan, and ridiculous gold loafers.

I like this.

After a week's worth of viewing pretty atrocious apartments, Brad and I found a great place in Greenpoint that we can afford, that probably only needs one lock on the door, and that has no less than four places to eat pierogi and kielbasa within a six block radius. I'm thrilled. The big move happens on my birthday, which is somehow only twelve days away. I don't know how it's possible for a year to pass so quickly and so slowly at the same time, but I'm beginning to fear that that's how things happen once you're old enough to worry about crap like health insurance. Time runs by less significantly, but then when you're cleaning out your purse you find months of receipts and paystubs to prove it occured.

I wanted to write more about searching for apartments, but I feel wrong thinking about anything besides the people on the Gulf Coast whose lives have been washed away by Hurricane Katrina. I've spent the last two days watching CNN around the clock because I feel completely impotent. If there's nothing I can do for these people, it's at least my responsibility to know what they're going through--as much as that is something that can be extracted from television news. I've been sitting in front of the TV, often with my mother, trying to fathom what we would do if the radio suddenly told us to leave our houses. We don't have any family to go to, but we at least have money and cars, and the physical consitution to survive outside our house. But still, the thought is terrifying.

The people stranded New Orleans and Biloxi and the countless towns in between leveled by hurricane winds and water were left to survive an unsurvivable force by local, state, and federal governments that turned a blind eye, not only to reports that their hurricane protections were insufficient, but also to a system of class and race that left the poorest citizens in the path of destruction with no escape. How is it that in a country that considers itself to be the most advanced in the world (however arrogantly and erroneously) the poor are determined by their race, and then denied exactly the kind of assistance we are so quick to ship around the world in exactly the same kind of disaster? Why are our poor so invisible?

I don't want to make it seem like I don't think we should've sent aid to tsunami victims, or that American victims of disaster are worth more than foreign victims of similar disasters. My point is that all victims in these situations are equally at the mercy of the world's kindness and should be given the aid they need with equal urgency. It's an often repeated question in the last few days, but how is it possible that we were able to get supplies around the world to tsunami victims in two days, yet the thousands of people trapped in the Superdome had no food or water for more than five? It's unthinkable.

I'm sick at how our government has responded. I'm glad that each of the newspapers I saw this morning, from the liberal New York Times to the staunchly conservative Daily News and New York Post, each proclaimed their outrage at the inhuman treatment of Katrina victims. This country hasn't been this united since the last national tragedy, and though it's not worth the thousands and thousands of people who have been unfathomably hurt by the storm, it's a small comfort to know that this may be the factor that unites the population enough to demand that our government take responsibility and take care of its people. We are all outraged, and we all want these people to recieve the support they so desperately need. I wish I knew how to transform the former into the latter.

I've donated my money to the Red Cross, and I've kept myself informed of what's going on. It's not enough, but I don't know what else I can do when I live in New York and the people so in need live a thousand miles away. If anyone knows any organizations who need volunteer hours or another pair of hands, please let me know.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

power to the people! citizens have, and will continue to come to the aid of those in need. screw the feds! RISE UP! we shall overcome!

11:56 AM  

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