Monday, October 29, 2012

Are you listening?

As the wind gusts outside I find myself experiencing a peculiar kind of fatigue. Over the last couple days we’ve made a few trips round the neighborhood stocking up on supplies to prepare for this year’s big storm. The panic driven consumer frenzy that surrounds these storms always has me shaking my head. It’s only common sense to get prepared with a storm on its way, but I can’t help but note how this consumer reflex is becoming our response to everything. On the surface this consumption looks like preparedness, but is it really? Like so many other things in our culture, isn’t this just another way to cope with a situation we feel powerless to control? It reminds me of our current health care model: wait till it breaks, then attempt to fix it. If it’s too late to actually fix it (which it is more often than not) - medicate it so that the symptoms are at least tolerable. Today I heard one of “our” Senators explaining all of the different ways that people would be compensated for damages they suffer from the storm. There were even programs to cover lost business revenue. Here again, we respond to damage after the fact, accepting the outcome as inevitable rather than addressing the underlying cause. Perhaps the Senator is just trying to make us feel more secure, explaining that the government has our back when times are tough. Hey this is what you pay your taxes for right? This is one of those moments when we recognize the benefits of having a safety net, when something REALLY BIG happens and we can all feel... um... safe. So then what is my fatigue about? Buying emergency supplies wasn’t all that stressful. Yes, the lines were loooooong, but we are lucky enough to have food to buy. I have a roof over my head that will in all likelihood withstand the wind. I am fortunate to live in an area high enough to avoid the flooding. I’ve got the electricity to write this blog entry...

But I can’t shake this feeling. I’m tired. I’m tired and honestly, I’m a bit frightened. I’m tired of people not listening. A historic storm by all accounts, days before a presidential election, large enough to threaten the entire Atlantic coast - I feel like I’m living in some sort of Bizarro World vacuum. I want a bit more from “my” politicians than an explanation of how I can get compensation for damage done. Three debates and not one mention of climate change? Campaign ads airing between hurricane updates? Katrina. Irene. Sandy. She's raising her voice. How loud does she have to get before you listen?

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