So, I have been silent on the whole New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg’s apparent need to correct the ails of the world, or New York City, at any rate, one Big Gulp at a time. In a time when New York and New Jersey residents are in need of assistance to make it through another day, however, the Mayor and New York City Marathon Race officials have determined that it is in the best interests to “let the show go on.”
Really? With thousands of people without power, it is a better use of those massive generators to sit and warm the little toes of the judges as they drink coffee in their heated tent? The people who are surrounded by salt water, without a single drop to drink should realize that the cases and cases of water being delivered for the race participants is a better use of those resources?
The argument for the race continuing is that it generates a great deal of revenue for the city. Great. However, at what cost? People not only in New York and New Jersey, but across the country are wondering what the heck is going on. Why have this race when people are trying to figure out where they are going to live now that their houses and all their belongings are either out to sea, or buried under 10 feet of sand?
Mayor Bloomberg is criticizing the critics by stating, "For those who were lost, you've got to believe they would want us to have an economy and have a city go on for those that they left behind." Not even you, Mayor Bloomberg, could be that arrogant to think that people who lost their lives would support using resources for runners over sending it to their loved ones that are trying to survive on nothing. The fact that he could even invoke the dead in support of this decision shows how completely out of touch he is with what has actually happened in his city and state. People have no food, and are resorting to dumpster diving to find something to eat. People have no water to drink, no gas for their generators, and nowhere to go after the shelter that has been their home for the past week, finally closes up and sends them packing.
Race officials point to post 9/11 New York, and the decision at that time to go forward with the race despite the horrendous terrorist attacks. Wow, can you compare apples to oranges to bananas? That is truly – well, BANANAS! While it is true that the race was a source of pride for New Yorkers post 9/11, and was used as a way to show the world the city’s resilience, there are two major differences between then and now. First, New York was essentially giving the finger to Bin Laden and his minions through an alliteration of “you can kick us, but you cannot keep us down!” Exactly whom is Mayor Bloomberg and the NYRR trying to shove the finger at in this situation? Mother Nature? Good call…I would not do it, but hey, that’s just me. I also would not have this race!
Second, New Yorkers supported the race in 2001. It only works if everyone is behind it. It is a great idea if it actually inspires people, and makes them say, “yeah, we may be down, but we are not out!” Instead what you have is people waiting in line for hours on end for gas to fill their generators, only to find that the gas station has been out of gas for the past hour, and now have to find another open station and play the same waiting game. People will not back an action were they perceive the city is catering to visitors and not taking care of their own. They do not care that there is the potential of big revenues. They want heat, and coffee, and water, and a tent! They want enough power in their neighborhood to charge their cell phones so they can contact people and agencies in order to get help, and start back on the road to recovery. They don’t want some skinny Kenyan running through the streets to cheers and accolades, they want the skinny Kenyan to bring them his bottle of water and give them his shoes, since they haven’t had a dry pair on in days.
Just as post 9/11 brought the country together, and people donated money, supplies, clothes, whatever they could to help out New Yorkers, we are all doing it again. We are here for the people of New York and New Jersey. NYRR, however, stated “These are our private generators. We are not draining any resources from the city’s plan to recover.” The City’s plan to recover includes getting resources to all those affected, and includes donations from private individuals and entities to aide in that effort. So, why not put them to good use? Take them into a neighborhood, and give people power for a day. Ask the race participants to forego the race, and help with recovery. Have them run around passing out water bottles, purification tablets, clothes, shoes, diapers, anything! Ask them to frequent their favorite restaurants in New York, and then ask them to donate food to a homeless family in a shelter.
I firmly believe the show must go on…I just don’t agree with the show they have chosen. It should not be the New York City Marathon; it should be the People of New York and New Jersey – We Will Survive and Be Stronger!