During times of distress—whether natural or manmade or, I guess, both—people tend to come together. At least, in recent history, in New York City, during events ranging from the blackout of 2003 to the terrorist attacks on September 11th, to the blizzard of 2010, and now to the destruction wreaked by Hurricane Sandy, people have banded together to help each other and work through these times of surreal crisis. People do good deeds as individuals, as private citizens, and they do these good deeds under the auspices of government, both local and federal. At these times, we appreciate no one more than the Fire Department, the Police Department, the EMS, but also, we appreciate the people, the regular citizens who join forces to help each other in our times of need.
So. Why politicize this? Why even mention politics or parties or the imminent election?
The reason that I think that it is essential to remember this election and what it means during the Sandy clean-up is because, as federal money starts to come in to assist in the clean-up and as government employees like firefighters and sanitation workers help to fight the damage that Sandy wrought, we need to remember that who we vote for determines how much help we can expect. Mitt Romney is on record in 2011, during a GOP primary debate as saying that he believes FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) should be shut down. Romney was asked whether or not the agency should be closed and responsibility be given to the states or, even, the private sector. Romney responded, ""Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction. And if you can go even further, and send it back to the private sector, that's even better. Instead of thinking, in the federal budget, what we should cut, we should ask the opposite question, what should we keep?"
When the debate moderator inquired, "Including disaster relief, though?"
Romney replied, "We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we'll all be dead and gone before it's paid off. It makes no sense at all."