Sunday, November 19, 2017

Responding on the Local Level

It's been two months since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, and the response by the federal government has been a disaster, a farrago of incompetence and outright kleptocracy. Thousands of marchers hit the streets of Washington D.C. today to call attention to the situation in Puerto Rico, and the poor response to it.

The real response to the ongoing crisis is coming from local municipalities- shortly after the hurricane, the Fire Department of New York rallied to collect material and funds for the relief efforts. Last week, I made a donation to the police department of the Town of Greenburgh, north of my beloved Yonkers, to help send a team of first responders to the island. The New York Metropolitan Area is home to a large Puerto Rican community, the members of which form a large portion of our civil servants, our first responders, the people who keep things running. New York, along with Florida (also home to a large Puerto Rican community), is stepping up to get the power running on the island after the corrupt cronies were sent packing.

I believe in competent governance, the pooling of talent and funds to ensure that the roads are maintained, the garbage collected, and, yes, disasters are responded to with alacrity, compassion, and know-how. The worst bill of goods ever sold to the population of the U.S. was Reagan's assertion that government is the problem. If you are a member of a political party that runs on this premise, you have no business being in government, because you will seek to prove it. The GOP has devolved since Reagan, to the extent that we have a bunch of kleptocrats, and kakocrats, running the country. Thankfully, there are still localities which function, and can act to prop up places, like Puerto Rico, that have been the victims of this dysfunctional government. I'm thankful I live in one of these localities.

1 comment:

mikey said...

Very well put.

I've tried to make this clear for years: The very basis of our polarized ideologies in the US is our expectations of government action in the community. And, of course, like almost everything else, that comes down to money. If we want government to fill a role in the community that private business cannot or will not, we need to fund those activities. And that simple reality created the basis for the catastrophe we find ourselves in.

We actually have a national legislature that authorizes expenditures it then refuses to actually appropriate. If you look at federal revenues vs. authorized federal spending, you see they lag behind every single year. If there was a more infantile expression of want vs. cost I can't imagine what it might be.

There is a place for profitable business. There is also a place for well-funded, professional competent government intervention. And now we find ourselves utterly paralyzed by that question, unable and unwilling to invest in the fundamental infrastructure that a government exists to provide....