Hurricane Sandy and the Political Microcosm of New Jersey

Today is the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy (dubbed “Superstorm” Sandy for some bureaucratic reason beyond the ken of mere mortals), when the storm took an unusual left turn, just as the country did a week later, re-electing Barack Obama as President of the United States), and engulfed the state of New Jersey.

 

The original forecast was for the storm to hit Atlantic City and then head into Pennsylvania.  Instead, it traveled farther north and wiped out Seaside Heights, a popular shore town with a boardwalk, amusement rides, and arcades.  The iconic image of Hurricane Sandy was the roller coaster on the Seaside Heights pier stranded and warped in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

 

The Jersey Shore took the main hit from the eye of the storm.  The rest of New Jersey suffered through flooding and wind damage that left trees and power lines down for up to 12 days.  Long Island experienced a similar fate.

 

Gov. Christie wisely canceled Halloween last year.  He promised the next Monday would be Halloween, but he hadn’t bargained on the number of trees that would be downed in the northwestern, woodland section of the states.  Roads were blocked off for weeks.  Power was out, which meant food rotted in the grocery stores, gas couldn’t be pumped, even if the gas tankers could get through the blocked roads, and residents had to rely on battery-powered radios to learn the news of the hardest-hit areas.

 

We felt bad for the Shore area residents.  But the truth is, we were all freezing.  Fortunately, most homeowners had gas heat.  For them, it was a matter of kick-starting their burners and keeping them powered.  My brother was able to do so with his huge, diesel truck.  Those of us with electric heat froze our toes off.  (See why I told you I didn’t want to move too far away from my Mom, J.D.  She has gas heat).

 

Eventually, Brother A was able to give Mom some power for lights, but not enough for the refrigerator.  I, on the other hand, had prepared and stocked my freezer as full of ice cubes as I possibly could.  I kept the food cold and then brought it to her house, where my brothers and I ate.  Brother B couldn’t even get to his house.  A huge tree blocked the main road.  When Brother A, a big, strong, muscular man, tried to use his chain saw to remove it, the police, in their infinite wisdom, chased him off.  However, he cut enough way for low-profile vehicles to get under.  Dangerous to be sure, but when you’re cold and desperate to get home, you’ll take that chance.

 

Cold, cold, cold.  It was so cold.  That is what I remember from Hurricane Sandy.  It was like the day my New York train, coming home from the city, broke down somewhere in the Meadowlands Tunnel in the middle of January on the coldest day of the year.  Fortunately, I wore a long, down coat.  But I thought my feet would freeze to the floor back then.  I hoped I’d never be that cold again.  That was in 1983, 30 years ago.

 

My electricity actually came back reasonably quickly after Sandy, relatively speaking (four days – four very long days of huddling up with my two cats so they wouldn’t freeze to death).  My mother’s house was one of the last to have electricity restored, due to a large tree that an insurance company wouldn’t allow to be removed from the scene so the power could be restored.

 

Cold, sitting in the dark, disconnected from our modern world, we had only one another to turn to.  The lucky people were those who had offices to go to that had emergency power.  Most didn’t, though.  Most businesses were shut down.  The stores were closed; those that were open were out of the essentials – milk, bread, batteries.  We felt terrible for those who were in an even worse state – residents who’d been in the eye of the storm.  We at least had shelter and Mom had heat.

 

My older neighbors were not so fortunate.  They had nowhere to go and no way to cook any hot meals.  The local pizzeria was open.  He had natural gas and soon people were going across to the shopping mall for some hot food.

 

The storm had taken such an unusual turn, we couldn’t help wondering if this was a message from God:  This is what you will face if the country takes a hard, left turn in the presidential elections next week.  Homes literally underwater were a metaphor for the homes financially under water across the country.  The lack of power was what would happen if we were to centralize our government, or regionalize our local towns in New Jersey.  Butler, N.J., had an independent power supply.  Restoring power was simply a matter of reconnecting a wire somewhere in Montville, someone said.  Butler and Bloomingdale had power restored within a day.  All except the houses on the northern end of Knolls Road who had to suffer for 12 days, thanks to the power of bureaucracy.

 

That’s one reason for not regionalizing.

 

As for Obamacare, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the rest, what good was the government during the Hurricane Sandy crisis?  The state’s main concern was – and had to be – the hardest hit area.  What would they have cared if my elderly, then-88 year old mother was freezing and becoming depressed sitting in the dark every night?  The government was no help to my mother.  It was my brothers who restored her natural gas power, something she couldn’t have done without them, and gave her at least some electricity so that she’d have light.  Obama didn’t do that.  Gov. Christie didn’t do that.  My brothers did.  That’s what family is for.

 

Obama will think nothing of cutting the elderly adrift in order to pay the medical bills, down to the last sniffle, for the illegal aliens he intends to grant citizenship to.  No doctors will take elderly, Medicare patients on the terms Obamacare provides.  Thanks to his Green Agenda, our electric power will be severely curtailed.  Ask any northern New Jerseyan or Long Islander, people who live in colder climates, what it’s like to be cold for nearly two weeks.

 

Ask those homeowners at the center of the storm what it’s like to be homeless, some up to a full year.  That may be your future.  The IRS and HUD are about to descend upon America like the furies of old, taxing people out of their homes and into condos like mine, with expensive electricity dependent upon a centralized grid.  When that power is taken away, and your feet feel like blocks of ice, you’ll understand.

 

There’s also the power of the economy.  When the power goes out, many businesses suffer.  The businesses on the Jersey Shore were wiped out.  They had months to get repairs underway for the beginning of the summer season on Memorial Day in May.  Yet, the money was slow to come.  The Jersey Shore waited and waited, all the while paying either mortgage or rent, and of course, property taxes on their business.  The Asbury Park boardwalk was ultimately abandoned.  Asbury Park is a blighted city and there were too many votes at stake among its minority population to “waste” on rebuilding a capitalist boardwalk.  Just ask Bruce Springsteen.

 

Atlantic City was not a victim of the hurricane storm, but of the economic storm.  The city and its island suburbs, where many of its workers live, are suffering from Obama’s War on the Capitalist Economy.  Towns like Brigantine and Longport were not greatly affected by the storm.  The houses were wiped out, but they may as well have been.  At least they would have qualified for aid from the government that ruined them.  The towns have been on a steep decline since the 2008 Economic Storm.

 

New York City took a big hit from the storm.  The city’s subway systems were flooded.  Trains and buses couldn’t get into the city from the farther suburbs because of all the downed trees and lack of power.  NJ Transit’s trains run on diesel, but the Long Island Railroad runs on electric and so does the PATH system, which meant Garden State workers had to drive into the city or take a bus.

 

The lesson from Hurricane Sandy was:  don’t depend on the government to help you.  They won’t help you.  They won’t even let you help each other; it’s actually against the law to provide food to your neighbors (I did it anyway, even if it was just a hot pizza for my neighbor who was lucky enough to have a job and had to go to work the next day).

 

America didn’t heed the moral lessons of Hurricane Sandy.  New Jersey itself didn’t heed the lessons, didn’t even see the analogy.  New Jerseyans re-elected Obama to the presidency and sent the mayor of Newark (of all cities) to the U.S. Senate, at least for a year.

 

Hurricane Sandy is what happens when you steer your country hard to port (to the Left), and drive it on a destructive course towards the catastrophic philosophies of Socialism and Communism.  We look nervously at the weather reports, in fear of another Hurricane Sandy (apparently Mother Nature decided she couldn’t out-do herself and took a vacation from churning out hurricanes).  We look nervously at the news reports and see an even worse political storm descending upon us, with even worse, irreparable damage to our entire country, not just New Jersey, in its wake.

 

Without even calling it up on the Internet, I can still see a picture of the Seaside Heights roller coaster sitting in the shoals, warped, tangled, ruined, a dark shadow of itself, a more fearful sight than the terror of riding it in its heyday.  The hulk is a nightmarish image, a shipwreck like the burnt S.S. Morro Castle in Asbury Park, sitting in the off-shore waters.

 

The wrecked roller coaster is America after Hurricane Obama.

 

 

 

 

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Published in: on October 29, 2013 at 9:56 am  Comments (1)  

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