During times of distress people tend to come together. At least, in recent NYC history, from the blackout of 2003 and the terrorist attacks of September 11th to the blizzard of 2010 and now the destruction wreaked by Superstorm Sandy, people have helped each other to work through these times of surreal crisis. People do good deeds as individuals, as private citizens, and also under the auspices of governments, both local and federal. At these times, we appreciate the regular citizens, but we appreciate no one more than those in the Fire Department, the Police Department, the EMS.
As federal money starts to arrive to assist in the clean-up, and as government employees like firefighters and sanitation workers repair the damage that Sandy wrought, we need to remember that who represents us in government will determine how much help we can expect. I should mention that I’m writing this before the election, although you’ll be reading it after. Perhaps what I’m about to say will seem irrelevant because Barack Obama won a second term. Or perhaps it’ll seem terrifying because Mitt Romney has been elected. Either way, it’s important to remember where both candidates stand, because natural disasters like Sandy—these “once-in-a-century” storms—are now occurring with alarming frequency. And while Romney may be the face of an abhorrent political philosophy (insofar as it’s even coherent), it does not end with him—it pervades his entire party.
Mitt Romney is on record from 2011, during a GOP primary debate, saying that he believes the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be shut down. Romney was asked whether its responsibilities should be given to the states or even the private sector. Romney said, “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?”