Let's Get Political

A Letter From The Hurricane On The Eve Of The Election

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!

Sarah Sophie

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.
PHOTO CREDIT: President Barack Obama, left, embraces Donna Vanzant, right, during a tour of a neighborhood effected by superstorm Sandy, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012 in Brigantine, N.J. Vanzant is a owner of North Point Marina, which was damaged by the storm. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=506585130 Colleen Sweeney

    Wow…quite the poignant read. And pretty much right one (at least to me).

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1366304454 Andrea Stark Ratner

    So eloquently said. As a fellow New Yorker who has luckily come through the hurricane OK, you have put words to all my feelings. I just hope that the people that need to be persuaded will read this. I will continue spread the word. I shudder to think what will happen if Romney wins. We have to do whatever we can to prevent that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=675213518 Frank Fraone

    You make a good point! It seems like the GOP wants to have people banish the idea that we should help people. The concept of a democratic, civilized society is a radical notion tho them. If we want to avoid the right wing drama than vote for Obama!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=555390436 Degge T Thomas Jr

    Anyone who thinks that Obama and the Democrat party is any better than the Republicans is insane. Obama signed the NDAA and with it, eliminated every citizens right to due process – How is that acceptable for the commander in chief of the United States? There are more than two parties, you know – and some of the other candidates this year are much more promising than the two Rupert Murdoch has force fed us this past year.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=7952029 Eric Ichabod Snyder

    Does anyone not see the irony in this?

    The government (and party) the author loves so much were also the exact same government who told people like her to evacuate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000542550963 Robert Remillard

    The role of the government has been the million dollar question…certainly for my lifetime. When we lose compassion and sight of the fact that the country is better when we are all well fed, healthy and happy we stand the chance of becoming a lesser society.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1053013448 Anna Lange

    To be fair, Romney isn’t in favor of completely stranding those affected by disasters without any aid. He simply stated that he would disband FEMA and leave disaster relief up to the states. This could be done by block grants or a number of other measures, and doesn’t necessarily mean that those faced with disasters would be stranded without federal aid.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002454415148 Carol Ann Goldstein

    Sarah, I agree with you totally. I think it is great that you went to Virginia to help the Obama campaign in spite of your situation as an evacuee in a hurricane. Those who do not agree with you should ask themselves what they would do if they needed FEMA and it was not there. Giving block grants to states does not work- in a disaster a centralized coordinated effort is needed. If you had to depend on your state to help you with a block grant and the leaders of your state did not believe in helping its residents, you would be stuck and helpless. Those who want the federal government to spend less on helping all of us, need to ask why the federal government gives away our tax money to big energy, big agriculture, big pharmaceuticals, and lets not forget big defense contractors. And lets not forget Katrina in 2005 when the state of Louisiana did not help the people of New Orleans. As a former New Yorker I hope all those effected will get all the help they need. I was born and raised in New York City and started my life at 137 Avenue A in Manhattan. After the third grade we moved to Laurelton in Queens-the south shore on the flight path for incoming flights to Kennedy airport. We spent the summers in Rockaway Beach. In each of these places, I would have been very affected by Hurricane Sandy. I helped the Obama campaign by making phone calls to swing states from my home. I also helped the campaigns of those I supported as a resident of San Diego, CA. Keep up the good work Sarah.

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