The Great Divide: Differing Post-Storm Responses from Opposite Sides of the Hudson

NJ Governor Chris Christie and President Barack ObamaNJ Governor Chris Christie and President Barack Obama

Nearly a week later, the East Coast is still battling to recover from the damage and devastation of Superstorm Sandy.

The combined response of emergency service providers, local, state and federal governments, and the private sector has been heartwarming. Federal resources were deployed quickly and efficiently, and the comments of President Barack Obama and NJ Governor Chris Christie, normally on opposite sides of the political spectrum, were mature, adult and responsible. They each publicly acknowledged the other’s efforts and focused on what needed to be done regarding the current disaster situation.

The responses from the east side of the Hudson were not as straightforward. While Mayor Bloomberg eventually realized the folly of diverting needed resources from disaster relief to support the runners of the NY Marathon, this decision came only after an outcry that the race would in fact be run.

How could anyone even consider redeploying emergency responders from helping elderly or disabled residents stuck in skyscrapers without food or water, in order to provide security for an athletic event? Here’s a novel idea: With all those runners already in New York City, why not put them to work delivering supplies to those in need using the most efficient mode of transportation post-storm: on foot. Why not get them to climb 20, 30 or 40 flights of stairs with food/medication supplies for those who are isolated in high rises? This would have been a win-win for everyone.

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani at a campaign event in OhioFormer NYC Mayor Rudy Guiliani at a campaign event in Ohio

The response of New York City’s former mayor, Rudolph Guiliani, was even more surprising. In the midst of this situation, his reaction was to stump for Republican nominee Mitt Romney on the campaign trail in Ohio–with the message that Obama should be fired because of what happened in Benghazi, Libya.Huh? What about what’s happening in your own city right now, Mr. Mayor?

Amidst all of the doom and gloom, death, destruction and disruption that came out of Hurricane Sandy, for a second we saw a little bit of bipartisanship–a touch of purple in a horizon that has been filled with red and blue storm clouds.

What a wonderful opportunity to plant the seeds for an effective way to approach government post November 6th.

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