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The politics of Sandy

Photo by Jewel Samad / AFP / Getty Images

Hurricane Sandy rolled through the East Coast this week causing mass flooding, leaving millions without power and, lest we forget, ruining Halloween for countless children. Mother nature has insane timing and the ability to divert our national attention from the last week of a Presidential election to more pressing matters. That is not to say politics are not at play in this storm.

To the contrary, the damage done by Sandy raises a critical debate that has been at the center of this election year, that being the role of government in our lives. The GOP has been pounding the anti-big government drum since Reagan. Democrats have been painted as socialists who want to turn the U.S.A. into the U.S.S.R. The irony is that there is a little truth on both sides of the aisle.

There are Democrats who hold strong socialistic views and support government involvement in all facets of business, but in comparison to the anti-government wing of the GOP, our numbers are small. The vast majority of Democrats are red-blooded capitalistic entrepreneurs and business owners. However, unlike the modern GOP, we believe government has a role to play. From Romney’s “You Built That” ads to the rhetoric on Fox News, “small government” is the conservative rallying cry.

But let’s look at this concept now in a real-world situation. In a recent etch-a-sketch moment, Romney did an about-face on comments he made just 6 months ago during a primary debate regarding FEMA. When asked about the role of this government agency made famous by its mishaps in handling Hurricane Katrina under Bush, he said, “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.”

The stupidity of that statement is only unclear to the most isolated Wall Street executive or the wilderness survivalist hunkered down in a bunker somewhere in rural Montana. Sandy is the perfect example of why we need a strong Federal Emergency Management Agency in place. What people seem to forget is that at one time many modern day government services were in private hands. From police to fire departments, part of our progression as a society has been to make these roles a function of government, because when left to the private sector, it just doesn’t work.

When fire departments were privatized, people had to have fire insurance. One house would burn while another next to it was extinguished. A wise Democrat said, “Republicans always complain about ineffective government, then they get into office and show you what they mean.” From Katrina to the Iraq war, we had eight years of proof that the GOP doesn’t know how to handle domestic and international crises.  If their argument is that the private sector can do it better, it is only because they have proven themselves to be incapable of doing it right.

Perhaps the best last-minute reminder that we should re-elect Obama on Election Day has been his work with Republican Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey, who has been praising the president’s help throughout the aftermath of Sandy (much to the annoyance of team Romney). Christie is a moderate and is proving that we can work together for the best interests of the people. He’s also showing his party that there is a role for the federal government to play in times like these.

Now let’s get the power back on on the East Coast so we can all make sure to harass each other and vote on Tuesday.

By Jose Cruz, guest contributor

Jose Cruz is the editor of worked in the Clinton White House and on three presidential campaigns. He is the founder of ImmigrationPAC, a pro-comprehensive immigration reform political action committee, and an active political commentator.

About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.


  1. I am not my governor’s greatest fan, but he does not allow party politics to impede his work in Jersey. There are many Democrats in his administration.

  2. Daily show had a similar take last night-,p4,d1

  3. From the mouths of babes…

  4. Happy this will be over soon.

  5. You started out okay, and as I read along, I just couldn’t help but chuckle. You don’t understand the GOP POV, do you? LOL

  6. “From Katrina to the Iraq war, we had eight years of proof that the GOP doesn’t know how to handle domestic and international crises. If their argument is that the private sector can do it better, it is only because they have proven themselves to be incapable of doing it right.” What a crock! LOL

  7. Really? And Obama has handled domestic crises very well these past four years? International? Benghazi?

  8. Thanks for the laughter, Jose.

  9. Sandy is proving to be Obama’s Katrina. Sure, the media won’t bash Obama and FEMA as it did Bush and Brown. But these natural disasters are always the same. That Obama and Christie can get together and hash out the needs is one thing. But let’s not all get goo-goo eyed over this political equation. Bush did the same post-Katrina. The only difference is that……………(well, you’ll have to read it in my next blog column.)

  10. Democrats who hold socialistic views? Um, no. Marxist and Stalinist views more like it!

  11. Good let Obama be in the East coast having a love fest with Christie. And the Romney folk can be concentrating on Ohio. Christie needs the help from the Fed, but he’s not stupid. Getting Obama to Jersey was a smart move to help Romney!

  12. I am sensing attraction between Christie and Obama. It’s almost uhm…electric.

  13. Well we know Obama has had PP many times. He likes bears.

  14. You guys don’t honestly think Bush handled Katrina better than Obama? Or that somehow liberal media bias caused that Really?

  15. Hey Mario, want to bet on who will win? If Romney wins I’ll never write another article. If Obama wins you post a picture of yourself and stop Trolling.

  16. Jose: How could Bush handle Katrina better than Obama? Huh? Obama wasn’t anywhere near Katrina. Anyway, read my column tomorrow on BL. Should set things straight!!!!!

  17. Jose, please don’t stop writing. My pictures are in my FB pics. I am not very photogenic.

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