In watching the news about the aftermath of Storm Sandy, I am shocked and horrified. at the sheer devastation and the lack of progress in restoration after one week. I’m not talking about physically rebuilding homes and businesses. I know that will take months. I’m talking about providing basic services, like shelter, food and water. I watch the news and I say to myself: “Is this America or some third world country?”
I see women sobbing uncontrollably at the hopelessness of their situation, babies without food and shelter wrapped in blankets and layers of clothing to try to keep warm, and 90 year olds,who we know are particularly vulnerable, without food and shelter. Plus, 30 degree temperatures and another storm on the way. Would you want your kids, grandkids, mother, or grandmother to be in this situation? I think not. I am irate and so should you be.
Where is Mr. Obama’s “Big Government” when we really need it? Where is Mr. Obama, himself, for that matter? Where is FEMA? Where are Jesse Jackson, “Reverend Al” (Sharpton), George Clooney, Barbra Streisand, and all the other Hollywood liberals when we really need them to support Americans in need? The people suffering in NY and NJ include all socio-economic groups – rich, middle class, and poor, black, white and hispanic. Sandy was an equal opportunity destroyer.
The answers to my rhetorical questions are obvious. Mr. Obama, after a brief “photo op” with Chris Christie, is back doing what he does best: campaigning. NY and NJ are not “swing states, so he doesn’t really care about them. Pardon me, but I understood that the President is supposed to be the President of all the people. And, in 2008 didn’t Mr. Obama run on a platform of bringing us all together?
FEMA is doing what it does best – little or nothing. And the celebrities, who were so quick to act in response to other disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina, Haiti’s earthquake and Africa’s various disasters, are either silent or busy campaigning for their guy – President Obama. The order of the day is to maintain a low profile, hoping to keep a lid on it until after the election so as not to hurt Mr. Obama’s re-election chances. (If this strategy sounds familiar, see Libya.)
A couple of things to keep in mind amid all the fingerpointing.
(1) Sandy was not a surprise, like an earthquake. FEMA and the utilities should have been better prepared. Obviously, they underestimated the storm.
(2) The person in charge has the ultimate responsibility and authority. This is true in life, in business and in politics. He or she takes the credit when things go right and the blame when things go wrong. That’s what leadership is all about. President Truman had it right when he said “The buck stops here.” Although there is plenty of blame to go around, President Obama, as the ultimate boss, must take a lion’s share of it. (After all, he was quick to take the credit for killing Bin Laden, wasn’t he?)
(3) Once all parties blew the preparation part, they could have at least redeemed themselves with a quicker response, but they have not. How hard would it have been to fly in generators, to supply power to homes, businesses and gas stations, water to drink, food to eat, etc. Isn’t there a disaster recovery plan that can be enacted?
The bottom line is America ‘s commander-in-chief has, once again, failed the American people. For two days after Sandy he displayed leadership, but then he reverted to his normal pattern of behavior. This is not an isolated case; it has been a four-year pattern. For four years he has failed us economically, socially, militarily and, now, morally. He has failed to respond to a series of “3 am calls” appropriately.
To paraphrase one of Mr. Obama’s campaign slogans: Give me a second chance, and I will do better. Americans pride themselves on giving people second chances, but not this time! Vote for Mr. Romney. Your kids and grandkids will thank you.