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Not Thriving But Surviving Challenging Times

| 1/11/2013 9:17:36 AM

It’s been over 2 months since Super Storm Sandy hit New York and on the news recently they showed some residents who are only now moving back into their homes. 

I watched “Rock Centre” on NBC just after Hurricane Sandy. Most of the show consisted of interviews with people on Staten Island, or in New Jersey, or anywhere in the huge swath of the most populated part of the U.S. that was in Hurricane Sandy’s bull’s eye. It’s kind of ironic when you think about it. Of all the places, the super storm picked one of the most populated parts of the U.S. to make landfall. And just days before the election. Kind of makes you think.

As we watched the news coverage during the storm Michelle kept commenting on how disconcerting it is to watch people in such stress. And these were not the type of people you’re used to seeing in distress on the news. These are people who live near the richest city on the planet. People who live in the richest country on the planet.

My first reaction was “Come on, how hard would it have been to have been prepared for this?!” I mean as long as your house wasn’t swept away in the storm surge, this shouldn’t have been that big a deal. You should always have lots of food and water at your home. You should have flashlights and candles. If you own a home, you must have a level of income that would have allowed you to make some preparations. And you know what? You could have forgone that trip to Vegas last year and put the money you gambled away into a generator. Then you wouldn’t be on the news screaming at ConEdison to get the power back on, because you know power grids are pretty complex and this storm threw a big monkey wrench into the whole process.

Reading my book “Thriving During Challenging Times” would have helped people prepare for this storm. Of course, even despite the best preparations, you might only be able to “get by” in challenging times, rather than thrive during them.

Then I started thinking about how governments allocate resources to these kinds of disasters. As someone who lives almost completely independently in terms of food and energy it’s easy to fall into the Ayn Rand/libertarian mode of “yup, you’re on your own baby, buck up and get yourself together”. But then I start thinking of how much money the government spends on the military. I loved Ron Paul’s response in the presidential debates to how much he felt the US should be spending on foreign aid. He is unequivocal… none. That includes Israel – they don’t need our money.

4/4/2013 1:59:22 AM

like any city, there is great poverty in the areas surrounding it. some of the areas hit are some of the poorest neighborhoods in the country. in many neighborhoods on long island residents were just starting to return to their homes after hurricane irene (my childhood home 60miles east of new york city has't been habitable in nearly 2 years from all these storms, as soon as it's fixed it's flooded again, my widowed mother has had to stay with family members all this time, she;s technically homeless and has lost nearly everything). it's such a sad situation. it's such a broken system- some of the country's worst hunger, poverty and billion dollar bank bailouts (and then they gamble that money, lose and the government kisses their boo-boos?) all within a 20 mile stretch of existence. shameful. there is no way many of the residents closer to NYC could have had survival kits when they were barely surviving as it was.

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