Hurricane Sandy reveals ignored problem
Hurricane Sandy swept the east coast last week, burying extensive parts of major cities — like New York City — several feet underwater. The purported “Frankenstorm” may have given cause to scoff for many Houstonians when it reached the eastern coast at a mere Category One. The hurricane caused catastrophic amounts of damage to a place not nearly prepared for that type of weather.
The storm caused massive amounts of flooding, ruining subway lines in New York and New Jersey and — for many — ushering memories of Hurricane Katrina, which had left a further blemish on George W. Bush’s presidency.
The lines have been divided between whether the storm would affect the popular vote or not, with many taking the stand that the storm occurred too soon to the election or that the disaster and the candidates’ reactions to it would in no way accurately reflect their policies and how they would handle the country.
The cynical could take this time to point out that this storm and the relief response give the greatest opportunity for the president and the Republican nominee to smile wide and get the greatest response possible. But that denotes the actual crisis at hand with a hurricane hitting a place where it usually doesn’t.
The actions of a president — in a time of immediate crisis — is a massively important event. After witnessing a Republican presidency handle a similar situation horribly in 2005, it was a relief to see President Barack Obama act efficiently despite any campaign pressure.
The president reached across the partisan aisle, working closely with the Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, a former Republican. Hurricane-publicity aside, it became a clear demonstration of a successful reach across the party without the slightest struggle.
Meanwhile, Republican candidate Mitt Romney also took advantage of the hurricane to gain some election publicity. Campaign rallies were converted to storm relief events for the sake of a Romney photo-op. The Romney campaign bought imperishable and canned goods and put them into boxes so Romney could stand around until he had to take them outside. These were, of course, canned goods going toward the Red Cross. The Red Cross, however, did not want them and do not like people to donate towards them in this way.
Romney also took this chance to dodge questions on his position on Federal Emergency Management Agency, an agency he had previously stated he wanted to cut.
Yet this storm prompts a bigger issue for the candidates that needs addressing regardless of party preference: global warming. Hurricane Sandy was one of the largest storms to hit the east coast.
Hurricanes and natural disasters have been occurring more frequently than in any other time in human history, which are indications and symptoms of global warming.
While Romney has taken a rather progressive approach than many of his fellow Republicans in acknowledging its existence, he has gone through great lengths during his campaign to indicate that he has zero interest in pursuing it, even going so far as to gawk at the president’s attempts to do so. Yet, whatever the Republican Party doesn’t believe exists is becoming an increasing problem.
Patrick Larose is a creative writing sophomore and may be reached at [email protected].