It’s Voting Day!
All morning, a light, steady stream of voters has been passing back and forth along 109th Street to and from their polling place.
For many people whose lives have been upended by Hurricane Sandy, voting will be difficult. Governor Cuomo has issued an Executive Order, allowing them to cast “an affadavit ballot” at any polling place in New York State. New Jersey has made it possible for citizens to vote by email. All I have to do is walk around the corner. Whatever you have to do to get to your polling place and whatever lines you may face when you get there, please vote.
As if we needed further clarification, Hurricane Sandy came along to make the choice even clearer for anyone who cares about the planet and the living beings that inhabit it. Here’s a mild reminder of the consequences of climate change, even in the least damaged areas of Manhattan:
On Friday, we made our way down from Morningside Heights to the Bowery. The power had not yet been restored in downtown Manhattan. Our mission was to pick up my mother from her Village apartment where she had and, while we were in the area, deliver peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to the Bowery Mission.
We sailed down the West Side Highway, moving smoothly from power to no power. Here are the last working traffic lights.
The Village was strangely empty.
Empty, empty, empty.
On the Bowery, shops were closed.
Bikes and buses ruled the road.
The Bowery Mission was the only open door around..
But then, the Bowery Mission is “Always Open.”
When I dropped off the sandwiches in the stone-cold lobby, the bundled-up receptionist told me there were 80 residents at the time. But the Mission is also helping anyone in the area who is in need – which is, post-Sandy, a lot of people. They were expecting two trucks full of supplies at any moment, one of which arrived while we were there.
Men came in and out of the open door.
We headed up to Washington Square Village, where voting machines were already stacked up in the lobby, waiting for Tuesday. This is a regular polling place.
The message on the machines is clear: VOTE!
So VOTE already. It matters. The only hope of mitigating the climate change, already affecting us so dramatically, is to elect public officials who accept reality, then push them to take action. Maybe they’ll even start uttering the dread words, “climate change.”