Lower Manhattan is smoldering. The site of the World Trade Center is still burning. Very little has been done to rescue anyone injured or trapped. A few groups wander around sweeping dust from one side of West Street to the other, but the rubble itself is still burning. Lower Manhattan has been evacuated and police barricades keep everyone from crossing south of Houston street. After 54 days, the smell of death is toxic and reaches all the way to Pennsylvania.
The fire commissioner has been begging the administration for men, for trucks, for water, for triage centers, for communications, for a place where people can get centralized information. Families are tacking pictures of their loved ones on random walls: "Have you seen this man?" "Have you seen this man?" No help is forthcoming.
Mayor Giuliani has been having a lot of fun, though. He took in a few Broadway shows. He took Judith to a baseball game. He's been making the rounds of cigar bars and had a special concert at Gracie Mansion with Barbara Streisand and Cher.
He is taking political heat for all of this, of course, but his response is that he didn't create the tragedy Al Quaeda did. He can't do anything to stop the hatred bubbling out of the Middle East. George Bush is to blame for that, and until he solves it, we're just going to have to bear the brunt of the attacks. What do people want from him? He can't go down and lift the rubble by himself. He can't put out the fires with his bare hands.
But, he assures us, he's been on the job from day one. Ever since the planes hit, he has expected Al Quaeda to clean up the mess and he promises to hold them fully responsible and fiscally accountable in court. He even went to one of the funerals and stood in the rain. Ruined a pair of nice shoes.
Why should HE have to give daily press conferences? HE didn't cause the mess.
He has issued a ban on all new building in Manhattan until we figure out what caused the Trade Center to collapse. He's permanently closed the stock exchange.
He's built a nice sturdy fence around the site, and his administration has been hard "at work" doing environmental studies about the impact of the rubble on the quality of life in Battery Park City.
He's terribly sorry that the police and firefighters have had no resources to put out the toxic fires or recover the bodies of their dead comrades, but he intends to "kick some ass" real soon. Real. Soon. Once he figures out why the situation has become so dire. In the meantime, it just underscores how vitally he needs you to vote him a third term. And how about those Yankees?
What would you say?
Have you seen this man?