Readability

Pure Relief

The grind-​it-​out side of pub­lic pol­icy occu­pied me this morn­ing, as I went to the State House to lis­ten to a sub­com­mit­tee patiently work out the lan­guage of a bill. That done, I walked out­side to see what was up on the State House plaza.

And my day was made.

A col­lec­tion was under­way for the Red Cross, with an eye to the dis­as­ter in Puerto Rico. Pal­let upon pal­let of water awaited load­ing onto trucks. Other types of dona­tions were being sorted, labeled, and pack­aged. One large “check” was on dis­play, indi­cat­ing a sub­stan­tial cash dona­tion by one of the state’s larger util­i­ties. Kids com­ing off school buses for their State House tour car­ried arm­loads of things to donate to the effort.

State employ­ees, elected offi­cials, just plain folks, those won­der­ful fourth-​graders: every­one on the plaza was on the same page. This was a relief effort in every sense.

The Gov­er­nor was on the scene, delight­ing the schoolkids with a photo op, and some­one said to him, “Will any of this actu­ally get where it’s sup­posed to go?” He said reas­sur­ing things. I hope he’s right. Dis­tri­b­u­tion: that’s the stick­ing point. How will this get to Puerto Rico? How will the Red Cross allo­cate things among the mul­ti­ple dis­as­ters it’s address­ing these days? I wish I knew the answers.

The peo­ple on the plaza weren’t being par­a­lyzed by dis­cour­age­ment or uncer­tainty over what comes next. They were doing their best with what they had. They left me inspired, refreshed, chal­lenged. That was a fine mid­day course correction.

Ellen is a New Hamp­shire pro-​life activist and writer who blogs at ellenkolb​.com.

The grind-it-out side of public policy occupied me this morning, as I went to the State House to listen to a subcommittee patiently work out the language of a bill. That done, I walked outside to see what was up on the State House plaza.

And my day was made.

A collection was underway for the Red Cross, with an eye to the disaster in Puerto Rico. Pallet upon pallet of water awaited loading onto trucks. Other types of donations were being sorted, labeled, and packaged. One large “check” was on display, indicating a substantial cash donation by one of the state’s larger utilities. Kids coming off school buses for their State House tour carried armloads of things to donate to the effort.

State employees, elected officials, just plain folks, those wonderful fourth-graders: everyone on the plaza was on the same page. This was a relief effort in every sense.

The Governor was on the scene, delighting the schoolkids with a photo op, and someone said to him, “Will any of this actually get where it’s supposed to go?” He said reassuring things. I hope he’s right. Distribution: that’s the sticking point. How will this get to Puerto Rico? How will the Red Cross allocate things among the multiple disasters it’s addressing these days? I wish I knew the answers.

The people on the plaza weren’t being paralyzed by discouragement or uncertainty over what comes next. They were doing their best with what they had. They left me inspired, refreshed, challenged. That was a fine midday course correction.

Ellen is a New Hampshire pro-life activist and writer who blogs at ellenkolb.com