I’m writing from a desk at my father-in-law’s where we have been evacuated for the third time in 4 days. I’m lucky to be here, with heat, with food, with electricity and most importantly, with my kids, safe and sound.
I found myself braving Sandy, mama-lion style, without my husband in the heart of the evacuation zone. Both our building and my parents’ building, where we had gone for refuge, were flooded. This story isn’t so different from scores of others across the East Coast. I’m writing this because this experience shed a light on something so frightening, so basic and so important that I had to take a moment to write this before the election.
I stood at the window (unwisely) watching the water rise up from the Hudson River, up across the West Side Highway and up up up around the building we were evacuated to, up around our car, up past beyond my eye could see. And I stood there, in the dark, and realized, I had no plan. I had no cash. We had little food. Scarce amounts of milk for my children. No way to ask for help. No way to receive medical care if necessary. And this touched me, it touched me in that horrifying place of a parent’s heart where you know you will do everything and anything to protect your children, but with the recognition that you very well, may not be able to. I felt connected, if only for a moment, to every mother in our country who is fighting and struggling without a safety net. With mothers everywhere who struggle with this feeling every single day. All this with the knowledge that I am white, privileged, and that ultimately everything would be all right.
I was also touched with a burning rage. How can we have a Presidential candidate who argued that we ought to disband federal relief and FEMA? That people ought to just pull themselves up by their bootstraps with no acknowledgment that many of us are born with longer, stronger bootstraps than others. A man who believes that climate change is a myth. A man who does not believe that all people have the right to health care. A man who believes that 47% of our citizens are lazy, less than, or without a work ethic.
Two fundamental differences in opinions between these two parties boils down to role of government. What my family and my fellow New Yorkers are living through is an extreme test of character and policy. Democrats and Obama believe that government is here to help in dire situations. The Republicans and Romney don’t. NYC is an affluent city and we will band together and rebuild, but we see how dependant we are, not only on each other, but on government services. I keenly felt how important our public servants are. How essential and brave our first responders are. How absolutely dependant we are on governmental services. How we are all connected and need each other. The power of compassion, community, and the power of our intertwined humanity.
The mother in me, the human in me, the activist in me is outraged. And sad. This all has been so very sad. And while I’m happy to be comfortable and safe, I know that there are millions, not just in New York, but all across the country who sit fearful and terrified on a daily basis. Without a safety net.
As I pushed our meager belongings in my sons stroller through the West Village, through the wild west that downtown Manhattan had become, a song was on repeat in my head. I leave it here for you. It sums up the vast differences between Obama and Romney, between the Democrats and Republicans, the difference between compassion and selfishness. It’s a song we perform and have recorded with The Citizens Band that feels more relevant than ever.
I leave to campaign for Obama this week. Leaving not from our home, but from our refuge on the affluent Upper East Side. We are going to the battleground state of Virginia to fight for the candidate who I believe has all of our interests at heart. Who believes in government assistance. Who believes in climate change. Who believes in Health Care for all. Who believes in Women’s Rights. Join us if you can at thetrip2012.com or make calls, go door to door, just please, get out the vote.
Shine on you crazy diamonds. Love each other well. Lend a hand when you can and let’s WIN THIS ELECTION!
Oh well you Just can’t make it by yourself, by yourself, oh, just can’t make it by yourself, by yourself.
Father, mother, Sister, brother, You know you’re bound to need each other,
And you just can’t make it by yourself, by yourself. Well now, the rich man can’t make it by himself, No the rich man can’t make it by himself
When the world is all on fire, Helping hands are not for hire, You better keep your friends, You can’t make it by yourself, by yourself.
NOW, the poor man can’t make it by himself, no the poor man can’t make it by himself
With no one to share his bread/bed, He’ll very soon be dead, You know you just can’t make it by yourself,(by yourself)
The big shot can’t make it by himself. No the big shot can’t make it by himself. What’s the good of tryin’ to be it If there ain’t no one to see it? Well you just can’t make it by yourself, (by yourself)
The humble man can’t make it by himself. No the humble man can’t make it by himself. His heart will break in two one day And he won’t know what to do because It’s just too sad to make it by yourself, (by yourself)
You just can’t make it by yourself, by yourself, oh, just can’t make it by yourself, by yourself.
Father, mother, Sister, brother, You know you’re bound to need each other
Check out the music of The Citizens Band – you will not be disappointed.