While drinking my coffee this morning in an effort to get my St. Patrick’s Recovery Day going, the local news went off and the national news came on. A few minutes later, an outraged Senator Chuck Schumer appeared, all aflutter in a fit of righteous indignation.

Cruise Ship

Who's more important to our leaders -- Hurricane Sandy victims or inconvenienced cruise ship passengers?

Cruise ship passengers, he declared, should never be “forced to live in Third World conditions.” Something must be done! Whereupon he promised to get right down to the all-important task of regulating the cruise ship industry to insure that their relatively well-heeled customers never have to endure, for a few hours or even a few (gasp!) days, the conditions that many New Yorkers either normally live in or have been forced to live in for months due to the government’s pathetic performance in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

I did a little research on the latter, and it seems the media have grown bored with the topic of the state of Hurricane Sandy victims. The most recent article I could find was this March 6 piece from HuffPo:

Superstorm Sandy punished low-income people in New York and New Jersey, especially renters who are now at risk of being unable to find new homes, according to a pair of studies released on Wednesday said.

Forty-three percent of the 518,000 households in New York and New Jersey asking for federal aid after Superstorm Sandy reported annual incomes of less than $30,000, according to the study from the affordable housing financing firm Enterprise Community Partners.

Of those making claims to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as of mid-February, 68 percent of renters and 24 percent of homeowners were low-income, the Enterprise study said.

Apparently, there are still thousands of New Yorkers and New Jerseyans who still don’t know where they will be living later on this year, and I don’t know how many are still in temporary shelters, trailers, or tents.

But that’s old news. Who can forget the grossly obese woman complaining about standing in line for hours for a hamburger while her cruise ship was being towed to Alabama? Or the horror stories from passengers deprived of electricity and indoor plumbing for several DAYS! And then we were treated to another story last week where these inncocent passengers had to go without working toilets or electricity for HOURS! Horrors!

Why, there might have been campaign contributors on those ships. After all, if you have enough money to go on a cruise, you probably have enough money to donate to some Senator’s re-election campaign. And Senator Schumer is going to go out of his way to make sure you notice his clarion call to insure that you never have to experience what millions of your fellow Americans go through on a regular basis. Especially when you’ve spent your no doubt hard-earned(actually, I do have doubts about that) money on a dream vacation.

The message I see loud and clear is this: Poor people made homeless by a nasty hurricane that was likely helped along by climate change may just have to suck it up. Middle class and wealthier people who can afford to go on cruises must never even be inconvenienced.

It pisses me off, it does.

cross-posted at Voices on the Square

Photo by Cyprus Pictures released under a Creative Commons No Derivatives license.