I darn near lost my breakfast when I saw this morning's New York Post. Here's the front page. (I couldn't find it online so I scanned and posted it.)
Inside on page 7 is a two-hanky report by one of the staff columnists featuring Dominick Camerada, a Staten Island homeowner whose property was damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
Though he confesses he didn't vote for Obama last week, Mr. Camerada was much consoled by the President's visit. "It's no easy thing to get on a helicopter and jump down in the middle of a disaster area," he swooned.
Indeed; I can't even imagine doing something that difficult.
Face to face with the President, Mr. Camerada quickly got to the heart of the matter.
He told the president of the United States that the $19,000 he was offered from FEMA for his family’s pain and suffering was "a slap in the face."
"What would $19,000 do for anybody down here?"
Obama was entirely on Mr. Camerada's wavelength.
"He's a human being. He felt my pain. I not only spoke for myself, but for my community," Camerada said.
"He said he would try to 'pass a law for more disaster funds.' He said he 'was going to try to make it right.'"
Not being a legislator, the President has of course no power to pass any laws . . . but OK, it's the New York Post.
Camerada isn’t going to pretend to know exactly what that means.
Who would presume to parse the words of the Great Consoler?
He's also not going to pretend that he and his wife and their four boys are going to wake up tomorrow in the freezing, dark house where they have stayed since the hurricane and everything will be back to normal.
So this isn't actually Tent City; the Cameradas have just been 16 days without power. That's ten days more than the Derbyshires. So if FEMA is offering $1,187,50 per day for lost power, where is my $7,125.00?
"I'm the only provider for my family," he said.
He's pretty darn good at it, too. We learn elsewhere in the piece that Mr. Camerada, age 50, is a retired UPS worker. I'd guess he got lucky with the share deal, as many UPS workers did.
Nothing wrong with that, but why does this prosperous non-working family of six need public funds? Don't they have insurance for their property? If not, why not? Couldn't afford it? Basic rule of real estate shopping: If you can't afford the insurance, you can't afford the house.
This is our country today: Citizens deprived of central heating, waiting for the Nurturer-in-Chief to come down from the sky and "make it right." And the handout better be more than a lousy $19,000!
Note a small but telling point in that front page headline: the word "vics." I've seen this a lot recently. It seems to have become standard tabloid headline-ese for "victims." For a concept so central to our identity nowadays, those extra three letters just aren't necessary.
Stick around: After a few more years as a nation of beggars displaying our sores so that the federal government can "make it right," the headline writers will have trimmed it all the way down to "v."