But as I read the newspaper and ate my cereal this morning, I sobbed to Cait, “I’m still crying. It’s ok.” I don’t even know what to say about the horror and misery after the hurricane. I cannot stop reading the newspaper and stories online, despite the fact that it leaves me with tears streaming down my face and wracked with sobs. When I try to stop, I think to myself that the people IN the nightmare can’t escape it, so why should I? And it guts me that there’s so little I can do. Yes, we’ve donated money, and we’ll keep doing so. We’re giving supplies and clothing to the refugees who are headed to the DC area. But it’s such a drop in the bucket.
And then there’s the government and it’s lack of response. I am ashamed and appalled by the lame, late, and lackluster response of the president and the federal agencies. And I am sickened by the endless stream of people, particularly those involved in “coordinating” the rescue effort, who keep blaming the victims. Yes, some of the people chose to stay despite having the means to leave. Yes, some of the people in New Orleans have taken advantage of a desperate situation to do selfish, despicable things. But most of them are innocent, law-abiding, decent people who COULD NOT leave because they were poor, because they were sick, because they had no way to get themselves and their families out even though they knew it was a terrible risk.
Of course, the part that’s hardest for me to cope with is thinking about the babies and their parents. Every day there’s another heart-shattering story: the woman with the feverish 3-week old turned away by the MPs saying, “Sorry. There’s nothing we can do.” The teeny tiny children separated from their parents and sent on buses to Houston, ALONE. The children raped while others looked on, doing nothing. Horrors upon horrors upon horrors.
So I cry. I don’t know what else to do.
I'm sure you've already made a donation to help. If you are in a position where you can make additional donations, I finally found the Rainbow Fund, a gay and lesbian organization working to help Katrina's survivors*. For more charity choices, check out Network For Good's extensive list.
*If you think sexuality shouldn't matter in a disaster, you're right. It shouldn't, but it does. Gay individuals and families get discriminated against, scapegoated, and shortchanged in disasters even more than in everyday life. It happened during 9/11, it happened after the tsunami, and it's already happening now.