Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sandy, Politics, and the President of the United States


by Stacy Dandridge
R3 Contributor

Natural disasters have the ability to test our resolve and to try our resilience as a country. As a Christian, I have found that individual faith at times is most strengthened during periods of difficulty and distress. Periods of difficulty and distress not only strengthen the faith of Christians, but they also have a way of exposing the true characteristics of a person. In the midst of what is one of the worst hurricanes to make landfall since Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005, Hurricane Sandy has definitely exposed and brought to the forefront the values and beliefs of the presidential candidates. Within the last few days, Sandy has shown her strength to residents on the East coast. She has left 8 million plus people without power, enormous property damage, 54 deaths and counting, and an estimated cost in water damage that lingers around $50 Billion. Although the storm continues to pound the east coast, weathermen predict that her prime has passed. Even though she moves North in less strength, she has definitely left her mark on the East coast.

Hurricane Sandy has not only left her mark on the East coast, but on the heels of a presidential election, Sandy has helped to iron out some wrinkles in the discourse of the presidential candidates. Mitt Romney and his beliefs about FEMA, a government owned agency that exists to aid Americans in protecting against and recovering from disasters, have caused many reporters, bloggers, and politicians to question Romney and his ability competently to lead this country. History reveals that during the GOP debate in 2011 Romney stated that the government should not be responsible for disasters such as that that took place in Joplin, Missouri in May of 2011; rather the responsibility should rest solely on the States or the private sectors.

However, in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, Governor Romney’s voice on providing government-funded relief has grown silent. While The Huffington Post reports that Romney is refusing to answer questions concerning his previous views of FEMA, the President of the United States is poised to assume a second term. In a presidential fashion, President Barack Obama has acted swiftly in dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. By acting rapidly he is not only proving that he is presidential, compassionate, and in tune with the needs of the ENTIRE country, but he is even gaining praise from Republican Governor Chris Christie who stated Tuesday morning on The Today Show that president Obama had been “great in assisting New Jersey with disaster relief.” Some believe that President Obama has had to deviate from the campaign trail in order to assist in disaster relief, but I believe that he is still on the campaign trial only conducting it in a different way. He has found himself providing disaster relief to Sandy victims and attempting to show that he is the best candidate for the job by responding to natural disasters that threaten the functionality of the country. He is campaigning!
I am not suggesting that the way in which President Obama has handled Sandy has won him the presidential nod, but his actions have certainly given him an edge in the race. In the wake of Sandy, in all of her glory, and standing in the throes of the Presidential debate, the American people have before them a clearer picture of the dispositions of the candidates. No matter how silent Romney chooses to be, his past comments about FEMA are speaking loud and clear. With the catastrophic damage done to States along the East coast, the recovery period may not be insurmountable, but it would definitely place a strain on the individual States to adequately recover on their own. They will need government help.

Romney’s comment about FEMA and calling for the dismantling of the program is indicative of his views of many government-funded programs. These government-funded programs in some way primarily benefit the 47%; programs such as Obamacare, Medicare, and Food Stamps. Mr. Romney no matter how silent you are in refusing to answer FEMA questions, your past comments may have already dug the ditch that will be the resting place for your run for President of the United States of America. 

Follow Stacy on Twitter @sddanridge

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