People in my city are going hungry. People in my city are dying. The constant wail of sirens, the wary way we must all behave in public, the frustration that builds each day as I reluctantly accept the fact that the Trump administration is not just incompetent but purposefully neglectful are forcing me to face emotions I’d rather not have. I’m angry. Really, really, angry.
Remember when Jared Kushner the over-entitled under-qualified “senior advisor” counseled his father-in-law to approach the coming pandemic as a public relations opportunity rather than a national emergency that actually required a mobilization of resources? Yesterday Kushner announced that “The notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile. It’s not supposed to be states’ stockpiles that they then use.”
Never mind that the federal stockpile of ventilators is equivalent to a Goodwill back room supply of broken microwaves because the maintenance contract to maintain them lapsed last summer. Let’s just stop for a moment and listen to the quiet part said out loud: “New York is not part of the real America. You are not people who deserve more than grudging, belated, inadequate-by-a-mile assistance from the federal government. You’re on your own.”
We should have seen it coming. Remember Puerto Rico where 4000 people died because of Hurricane Maria and President Trump blamed San Juan’s mayor and Puerto Rico’s governor, throwing paper towels at desperate homeless citizens? Remember when the Trump administration told California to sweep up all the leaves to prevent further fires from devastating the state? And how about all of those children in cages on the border? If you vote Democrat, live in a blue state, are a person of color, an immigrant or practice a non-Christian religion, the hell with you.
And it is not just Trump and his family of arrogant royal wannabes. Remember those two senators who traded on their inside information to make money off of the coming pandemic? The only Republican Senator I don’t wish to spit on right now is Mitt Romney. We had the chance to right this ship. I am not a fan of Vice President Pence, but we would all be a whole hell of a lot better off if he were president right now. For one thing, Jared Kushner’s shadow frat boy coronavirus “policy team” would be sidelined.
The people of New York are not going to forget how we’ve been abandoned. Governor Cuomo, bless him, may have to occasionally suck up to Trump to receive the few crumbs that are sent our way. The rest of us, those who bang on pots, clap, yell and whistle at 7pm every night in a chorus of thanks to our first line defenders — the medical workers, maintenance workers, grocery clerks, delivery guys who are keeping us alive — are affirming our unity with each other and our determination to survive this, with or without the federal government.
We have a suspected COVID case in our building, just like every other building in my neighborhood does. So far, the endless ambulances with their sirens blaring as they race down the avenue are going elsewhere. One of these days, that won’t be so. We also have nurses who live in this building, and a newborn, several people with chronic conditions and a couple of people fighting cancer, including my husband. We are all doing our best. And we are doing it knowing that our federal government isn’t even trying to help. And that is the saddest part of all.
I’ve spent a lifetime teaching U.S. History. I’ve never felt more ashamed of my government, more alienated from those who voted for it, more disgusted by those who refuse to prosecute what amounts to criminal negligence and self-dealing. But I sure as hell am proud to be a New Yorker. Despite it all, like my fellow New Yorkers I’ve still got an Empire State of Mind. “One hand in the air for the big city!” and one finger in the air to the Trump administration.