Irene, good night

I just got back from a two week vacation, turned hurricane tour to the East Coast. My parents have a house near the beach in Rhode Island where I grew up. Before now, I’ve never had to sandbag and board it up. It was frightening to evacuate inland and wait two very long days for the storm to pass.

Irene was a storm with a broad reach―requiring a hefty response. In my corner of the smallest state (.00000002% of the area this storm impacted*) I witnessed police going door to door issuing orders to leave, check points to protect evacuated towns, all hands on deck fire departments, every truck and crew preparing for the storm, and then undertaking the enormous clean up. Most roads were passable and power back on within the week. Impressive wouldn’t you say?

This, my friends, is infrastructure.

As noisy as the storm was, Washington, D.C. fell silent. For once, nobody was arguing about the need for big government because it was clear we needed it to prepare for and respond to this big problem.

Some of the deadliest hurricanes in America occurred before the convention of naming them. Sadly, like these storms, the disastrous number of victims of violence against women and children remain largely unnamed and unknown. The enormity of this problem requires an infrastructure that is up to the task.  There is absolutely no reason we can’t have it.

Meanwhile back at the coast, I felt palpable relief when I arrived home after the storm to find everything and everyone safe. I am so grateful to our government and to all the people who are loyal employees. God bless this mess.

* I made that up―but feel confident that it’s close.