Skip to comments.Forget About The Elections, What Does Hurricane Sandy Reveal About Us?
Posted on 11/03/2012 8:06:32 AM PDT by Kaslin
Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.Jesus of Nazareth, Sermon on the Mount c. 30 AD
This week there has been a great deal of analysis about whether Hurricane Sandy would affect the election. That analysis was interesting enough, but what Im more concerned about is what the hurricane will reveal about us. The question of electoral impact is subordinate to the question of culture. If the storm moves us closer to a reelect scenario, than this reveals something about the character of (at least) that segment of the nation which is changeable enough to change opinions at this late date; it reveals whom we trust. Our reaction to disaster reveals whom we trust.
According to Intrade, the political futures market, as of this writing, over the past three days the probability of reelecting Obama has gone from 62% to 68%. That is a dramatic increase. Todays Marist Poll shows Obama slightly ahead in battleground states. The RealClearPolitics averages seem to show a slight tilt towards Obama, depending upon which day one chooses as the baseline. This is tentative evidence that Sandy helped Obama, which more deeply means that this is tentative evidence that when disasters come, our politics tend to shift towards statism.
Notice that I did not say that our politics shift left, but rather towards statism. When those awful lunatics flew jet planes into the World Trade Center, our political mood shifted towards the security state. For good or for ill, understandably or not, we waged wars on two countries in response to this; we passed a landmark Patriot Act which rebalanced the relationship between surveillance and personal privacy; we nationalized airport security. All of this was, in some sense, a move rightward, and all of it strengthened the state. When Hurricane Katrina came we quickly embraced a massive federal rebuilding program. We engaged in national handwringing about income inequality and institutionalized racism. In other words, we got ourselves just a little more prepared to elect Barack Obama.
When the financial crisis came in 2008 and panic gripped the nation, the national discussion was about what to do, not about what to undo. In conference calls with the White House Brian Wesbury and I fought hard for them to roll back some of the financial regulations which were strangling the system, but the decision was already made. By the end, starting with Bush and ending with Obama, that crisis led us to engage in the most massive financial bailout in U.S. history, which led to the nationalization of some of the largest banks, insurance companies, and automobile manufacturers in the world.
When Sandy came, our political culture engaged in a series of accusations about how the RepublicansMitt Romney in particularwould eliminate FEMA. My Forbes colleague Rick Ungar simply fabricated a falsehood, quoting a Romney answer about which government should address disasters (state or federal) as though Romney were answering whetherthe government should address them. Ungar got loads of clicks for this, proving the old saying that A lie can get halfway around the world before the truth gets its pants on. On the Internet, it can get a lot further.
That was our nations principle political discussion. That and, of course, the usual sales job for more investment in infrastructure, whatever that means. And of course sermonettes against price gouging and Keynesian primers about how all the neighborhoods destroyed by disasters are good for growth.
In times past, Americans facing natural disaster would say a prayer, fortify their homes and then check on their neighbors. Now we whine for welfare. Not all of us, of course, but those who lead our national discussion. I saw my neighbors here prepare. When we have hurricane effects here, the next day I hear my neighbors revving up their chain saws, as I do mine, to put those fallen trees to some good use. But then again, I live in the town that Obama had just visited right before he went to San Francisco and complained about those who bitterly cling to God and their guns.
I dont know whether Sandy will prove to have reelected Barack Obama. I dont even know whether he will be reelected. But I do know that the discussion which our governing class had this week revealed an element of rot in our cultural foundation. When the storm came, she showed us that we are a society in danger of being washed away by statism. Repairing that foundation is even more important than carving up those fallen trees.
the govt and the people had several days warning of this impending perfect storm....
why wasn't the National guard in several states put on high alert?...where are the sandbags?....it doesn't seem like anything was done...
What does it say about the other Nations who have not appeared to offer any assistance?
Nothing in the news about the United Nations building and its personnel. Where did they go?
We should halt all United Nations contributions and all foreign aid until this catastrophe has been solved financially and physically.
I think it says that Americans should get to know their neighbors and come up with a plan. They used to call it civil defense.
If a neighbor was getting out of town before a storm, somebody knew about it so time wasn’t wasted digging through the rubble of their home. They knew where the elderly were so they could be helped. The basement of the library was full of civil defense supplies like canned food and basic medicines. There were certain men who would have duties assigned to them. My grandfather was an electrician so he would cut or restore electricity. We had a local doctor and nurses. Some men were expected to do temporary home repairs to make homes livable etc.
Well the UN did offer their condolences.......
1 November 2012 Pledging the full support of the United Nations in rebuilding efforts, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon offers his condolences to the millions of people who have been severely affected by Hurricane Sandy above all those who lost loved ones or their homes across a wide arc of destruction encompassing the United States and the Caribbean region, his spokesperson said today.
The Secretary-General has written to President Obama, and has spoken to the Presidents of Haiti and the Dominican Republic and Mayor Bloomberg of New York City, to express his solidarity at this time of crisis and to pledge the assistance of the United Nations, if requested, in the recovery effort, the spokesperson said in a note to the media.
Good article...here’s something that we can learn from.
A trait we used to have and the envy of all...
On the day of Halloween I was listening to a talk show and a women called in saying she believed the Government should CANCEL HALLOWEEN in the States hit by Sandy because of the danger to trick or treaters and others made possible by downed power lines etc.
WTH? Talk about a Nanny State? These clueless, helpless morons cannot even take it upon themselves to simply tell their own kids they will not be going out on Halloween because it is to dangerous. Instead they seem to want to “blame” it on the Government so they won’t have to make a decision themselves, in other words they won’t have to be a parent with the responsibilities attached thereto.
I think it says that Americans should get to know their neighbors and come up with a plan. They used to call it civil defense.
I grew up in the Midwest, in a cul de sack (before they were called that). Every neighbor parent was keeping track of every kid. We all knew it, too. I recently moved into a gated community. I introduced myself to a neighbor and didn’t get a name back, but a cold shoulder. I had a delivery dropped off at another neighbor’s house and was met like I was a thief when I said,”I think you got my delivery.” I told them FedEx said they’d made a mistake, and could they please check. I’m a white woman over 50. I’m not robbing people’s homes. What has happened to our country?
Obama has not done these ridiculous things so far so he could get reelected. If he does, it will be a hard lesson in economic reality for a lot of Americans: cheap power is linked with a strong economy.
Sandy says only fools and the very wealthy have dwelings within a flood plain. If you live on a flood plain, you will be flooded.
Sandy reveals that a lot of people are not making full use of their internet resources. It would have been a very foolish person indeed who would have stayed in a coastal location in New Jersey or NYC, Long Island, under some delusion that Sandy would be no big deal. Whatever was being said on the local TV stations (and much of that was probably strongly worded warnings to evacuate) the overwhelming consensus on weather-related forums was that the storm would be far worse than Irene for the coast (Irene did most of her damage inland from heavy rainfalls).
The storm also reveals that some people don’t understand the law of gravity, such as those who said they thought they were too far inland to see flooding. Umm, the only distance that matters is distance above sea level, once the waters start to rise.
IMHO if by now someone is still making their mind up who to vote for, they should not be allowed to vote.
The plain fact is that no government entity, nor probably all of the government entities, can provide food and water for millions of people even once, much less over several days or weeks. When the roads are flooded and debris is everywhere, you can’t move in the thousands of truck loads of logistics required. It’s impossible. People must take care of themselves. The limited amount of supplies that can be brought in should be for those who lost everything, not those who have a roof over their heads but didn’t prepare.
It shows us that Americans are more dependant on government
than ever before, Instead of storing six months food supplies, putting away bottled water, buying an adequately
sized generator and learning how to use it. etc.
The radio plays interviews with so-called undecided voters to help spread the propaganda. Most are dumber than a rock and are presented to give the idea that obama is trying really hard and just needs more time. In any case, no swing state is going to depend on idiots like that, but rather on getting clingers to put down the beer and go to the polls.
Katrina: "Where's Bush!"
Sandy: "Where's the governor? Where's the mayor? Where's FEMA?"
Everyone to blame but Oblamer.
The bonus: Benghazi is off the front page!
The restaurants and grocery stores, however, are all open and fully stocked. And the streets are crowded with trucks of all sizes making deliveries of food and other essentials to these stores. Private industry has won the day in this place -- that's for sure.
I disagree! It puts BOTH on the front page and exposes the Abandoner-in-Chief for the disgrace that he is.
When Americans call, 0 runs to Vegas.
Here in the country (very small town in my case) the only outside help we really need or want after a disaster is getting the roads clear and the power back up. As it is we all have chain saw so we tend to clear most roads for ourselves.
Rural people tend to keep more food and are generally better prepared anyway. I don’t burn wood but I have two wood stoves out in the garage with everything I need to install one inside of a hour. I have a generator. I need to get a hand pump to install on my well but I can get a decent one for under $200. I live on the shore of a lake so I have access to wash and toilet water and extra food there.
One of the best analyses of recent political trends I’ve seen. Thanks for posting this.
I’ve been through 3 significant hurricanes; Danny, Katrina, and Ivan on the Gulf Coast. It’s all a matter of where you are. I was slightly left or right of all of them. I lost power for 3 weeks for Katrina, but was still able to get groceries and gas. Of course, if you were west of my location, you were screwed if you stayed. There was no food, no water, and no way to get it to some areas. I live in Mobile, Al. I’m prepared now for a few months of just about any emergency.
It reveals that we are ripe for an overthrow. Our enemies are taking notes.
Dont talk like one of them. Youre not! Even if youd like to be. To them, youre just a freak, like me! They need you right now, but when they dont, theyll cast you out, like a leper! You see, their MORALS, their CODE, its a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. Theyre only as good as the world allows them to be. Ill show you. When the chips are down, these... these civilized people, THEY'LL EAT EACH OTHER. See, Im not a monster. Im just ahead of the curve ~ The Joker
We see this happening in NYC and New Jersey right before our eyes in the aftermath of Sandy.
Good for you! Sounds like you doing the right thing. I do live out in the country and try to be as self sustaining
as possible. I am off the grid, using solar and two generators, I have a well, put in a large garden every year, I have an oak forest on my property, etc.
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