THE DUST LADY
Marcy Borders was her name. In September of 2001, she was a young, well-dressed, African American woman who worked as a legal assistant for Bank of America. The office Marcy worked in was located in New York's North Twin Tower's Building.
On September 11, 2001, Marcy was one of the survivors who survived the initial attack on the Twin Towers. Somehow she managed to make her way out of the building and onto the street. Once outside, Marcy's picture was permanently captured.
Her petite frame was covered from head to toe in soot. Her arms were raised but bent at the elbows. The palms of her hands were turned inward facing each other but unevenly stationed. It looked as though her hands were frozen and yet simultaneously groping for help. Her head was bent slightly forward. Her lips were perched and parted. Her steps were forward but restricted.
Marcy needed help. Just a few moments earlier, she was preparing for the work day; minutes later, her entire body was engulfed in layers and layers of dust. Yet, as covered as she was, no amount of dust could hide the fear that was etched on Marcy's face. Her dusty pain-stricken face conveyed the magnitude of the horror that had just taken place.
But pictures, names, faces and stories come and go. Thanks to electronic technology, Americans are bombarded with real-time images of unspeakable atrocities, so much so, until they have become desensitized. Nothing bothers them for very long. And so it was with the picture of "The Dust Lady."
Americans saw her image. But they also saw the images of many other people whose lives were permanently changed by the terrorists' attacks that took place on U.S. soil on September 11, 2001. Marcy, unfortunately, is just one of countless people world-wide who are victims of some form of a domestic or foreign terrorists' attack.
As unpleasant as it is, humans commit atrocities against each other so frequently now until the faces of the victims become blurred and so does the means by which their lives were extinguished. Americans forget easily. Once they retreat within the confinements of their personal homes; and they grow tired of viewing the atrocities committed in their world, they turn off their electronic devices and tune out. Marcy tuned out, too, and soon, very little bothered her also.
But Marcy had a good reason for tuning out. After fourteen long years of living with the scars of September 11, 2001, she learned that U.S, policy makers, to include those elected and those not elected, are slow to appropriate the necessary funds to care for the financial and medical needs of indigent Americans. That lackadaisical attitude proved to be true for Marcy Border, an African American woman, who survived the terrorists' attacks of September 11, 2001.
The truth is that most policy makers will not admit it, but America is a self-centered capitalistic nation. Likewise most policy makers will not admit that there is very little money, political or social prestige to be derived from advocating for the needs indigent Americans. In matters concerning economic or political affairs of America's indigent, these policy makers advocate a doctrine of financial independence and personal accountability.
Proponents of the self-made man doctrine graciously accept praise for their personal accomplishments and for their financial independence. Thus many Americans who consider them selves to be self-made have an inherent prejudice against any legislative language or any benign dialogue that contains any hint of what they consider to be a socialist's agenda.
However, these same self-made people forget that they have or their progeny has benefited directly or indirectly from social programs and federal or state legislation that specifically or collectively addressed their personal or professional concerns. Whether it was a tax incentive, the receipt of an unearned grade, a business write off, a higher salary then authorized, the bribe of an official, generational nepotism, an undisclosed political or financial alliance or the dismissal of pending criminal or civil charges; America's self-made policy makers categorically reject the "brother's keeper" doctrine. They contend, instead, that they made themselves.
As such, many of them never seriously consider allocating the dollars necessary to permanently build safety nets to ensure that people like Marcy Borders who are suffering from a traumatic event or a psychological disorder receive the counseling and financial support that they need. The very best that proponents of the self-made man doctrine can do is to empathize with the plight of those Americans who have been victimized. The second next best thing that the self-made man is willing to do is to lend his or her support in appropriating the funds necessary to continue the defensive efforts to root out and eliminate all acts of domestic and foreign terrorism.
To that end, the self-made man will allocate the necessary dollars to hunt down and punish terrorists. But because America is a self-centered independent boot wearing nation; it expects its citizens to eventually pull them selves up by their on boot straps. If, after limited financial support and medical care, its citizens fail to pull themselves up, the citizen is expected to independently absorb the personal and the psychological cost of living in a capitalist nation. Marcie was expected to do the same but she didn't.
Granted, no one will ever know the extent of the pain that Marcy Borders endured. But her image rests among the images of all of the victims who have fallen to the atrocities that humans commit against each other. On August 25, 2015 Marcy Borders' secret battles ended. The dust; the poverty, the trauma, the pain, the loneliness, and the fear that once inundated her from head to toe has been exchanged for permanent serenity.