Last night I was looking at the footage of the devastation throughout New Jersey, parts of New York and up and down the East Coast and was saddened and shocked to see how much many of us underestimated the type of havoc Hurricane Sandy laid on folks.
Thousands were left homeless. Millions of people were left without power and water. Millions had no heat which was crucial considering that Sandy unlike most hurricanes was not one that came when the weather was warm. This was essentially a winter storm, one that dropped several feet of snow in some places.
It was surreal looking at the carnage and recalling that it was just a few nights before, many were on twitter and Facebook taking what some were calling ‘a storm of storms’ , lightly. Many saw this Frankenstorm as no big deal, especially since it was a category 1 as opposed to a category 5, but history will show, Mother Nature, was and is not to be toyed with. The devastation shown here in the states has left many mournful and speechless. One can only imagine what things are like in places like Cuba, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and other parts of the Caribbean where this monstrous storm struck first and not talked about too much in our media.
As the footage and stories unfolded about the immense destruction, I was surprised and left wondering why the hell presidential candidate Mitt Romney was a thousand miles away campaigning in Florida. As a leader and potential next President of the United States he should’ve been where the action is. His lack of presence in the storm zone was telling and a clear indication of what we might expect in terms of leadership or his lack thereof.
It wasn’t lost on many of us that Romney has consistently touted he’s a businessman whose acumen in that field lends to him being an effective problem solver. It wasn’t lost on many of us that one of Romney’s business oriented solutions was to privatize FEMA.You can read about that HERE.
It’s with that in mind one has to wonder, why a supposedly business-savvy Romney was away campaigning in Florida as opposed to convening roundtables with all his business connects, collecting checks and showing the world just how effective the private sector or he as a ‘leader’ could be in rallying up the troops and resources for relief efforts..Yes, I know Romney did some sort of canned food drive/fund-raiser in Ohio, which was good for a nice photo-op, but anyone with an ounce of sense knows that’s not how big fundraisers are done when you play in the economic stratosphere on Romney. You don’t do food and clothing drives, you get on the horn and collect checks, the same way he does when running for office. There was no excuse for Mitt Romney not to have rolled up his sleeves and been in the hardest hit areas alongside everyone else delivering relief in the form of big checks to help in the recovery efforts.
It seems like everyone switched up their scheduled activities to focus, time and effort on victims of Hurricane Sandy. From media outlets which curtailed their regular programming to provide round the clock coverage to first responders from all over the country who ponied up resources, many on their own dime to get back East and chip in.. Mitt on the other hand opted to be elsewhere when he should had his own boots on the ground. What I’m saying is not far-fetched..We’ve seen private citizens with far-less resources and clout step up with great results in wake of a natural disasters
Case in point is Mississippi rapper David Banner. In 2005, Banner after toiling for years was finally on the music map, with a massive top ten single, ‘Play’ and a highly anticipated album due out that fall called ‘Certified‘. Banner was in the middle of tour when Katrina, a category 5 hurricane hit the Mississippi coast line and damn near wiped it away.
Most people around the world had their eyes fixed on New Orleans because of the levees bursting and the subsequent flooding, but the main brunt of Katrina was felt in Mississippi where she forever decimated entire towns and left much of the state in darkness and without power.
It was in this backdrop that Banner without hesitation, made the decision to end his tour and use the buses and his own money and resources to start delivering food, water and clothing to those who lost everything. Banner turned to his fellow rappers to join his efforts and soon had big checks from everyone from Nelly who helped him set up infrastructure to properly collect money and goods to Young Jeezy who gave 250k to help in relief efforts. Other artists called up clothing companies and used their endorsement clout to get supplies for those in need. It was all hands on deck as folks came together to help save lives and get people back on their feet. This was in addition to the fundraising concerts Banner organized.
David Banner was relentless in his efforts at great sacrifice. The promotion of his album, the momentum of his career in a fickle music industry and his lucrative tour took a back seat while he put in serious work to help in the recovery of Mississippi. Banner demonstrated leadership, ingenuity and resourcefulness something we saw lacking with Romney who is clearly showing us how a businessman operates in times of trouble, putting the economic and in this case his political bottom line over people.
Instead of showing and proving what he could do as a concerned citizen and leader, Romney and his billionaire cronies are gearing up to spend upwards to another 10-12 million dollars in political campaign ads over the next few days. This is on top of the estimated 5-6 billion spent in this election cycle. One would think some of that money would go toward recovery efforts, but perhaps that’s why so many of us are NOT business people on the level of Romney. We are not ruthless at all costs in our pursuit of the bottom line. We should note how folks who think this way come through or don’t come through during natural disasters.
I recall Banner telling me a year after Katrina that there were label executives who harshly criticize him for turning his attention to relief efforts vs promoting his album. I recall when he was MTV weeks after Katrina, he got major grief for giving out the phone number to foundations and talking up relief efforts vs pushing the release date of his album. Maybe some are in Mitt Romney’s ear telling him its wrong to show up to help those in need vs campaigning. Maybe they’re telling him ‘Win at all costs Get that money that’s the American way and the hell with those who are in need and even dying’.
I bring all this up, because in 2012 we are at a critical juncture, politically, socially and economically. Right now there’s a big push to privatize many institutions and services that in the public sector. It’s a push by folks who sit on both the left and right side of the political spectrum. Romney and his people wanna privatize social security and outfits like FEMA. Here in places like California its corporate minded Democrats leading the charge to privatize our once revered public universities and colleges. So lets not get anything twisted. Privatizing everything from parks to schools to your local fire department is an end game for a whole lot of folks who are part of the 1% and folks best be thinking about this with every political decision made, no matter who’s in office.We should be asking are those repping us ‘corporate owned’ or ‘corporate free’?.
All of us should be asking what does that mean at the end of the day. Will you have to have good credit and a job to be rescued by a privatized FEMA? With the devastating fire that torched more than 100 homes in Breezy Point Queens, would privatized relief efforts be for those who paid for premium relief service? Certainly folks recall the Tennessee fire department that stood by and allowed a home to burn because the family neglected to pay their annual Fire Prevention dues to the local fire department..You can read about that HERE.
It’s important that folks pay attention. The true measure of a person’s character is how they behave in times of crises. The day after one of the worst storms in American history, if your away campaigning and collecting advertising money while fires are still burning and flood waters are still rising and millions are left suffering, then folks should really take to heart when you (Mitt Romney) say things like; ‘Corporations are People To My Friend‘ . In short, Mitt Romney may have gotten his fingernails dirty if a Bain Capital building got flooded, but if its Mrs Jones down the street, not so much.
Lastly, let me not, I’m no political novice, I get that with political rival President Barack Obama and Mitt’s good friend Gov Chris Christie showing love and publicly cooperating with one another is probably is rooted in political posturing. Yes I get that they are politicians and they are playing the role, but at least they have sense enough to do it in the disaster zone. At least they have sense to do a lil’ something to help bring about relief. If anything their presence has helped motivate people. They’ve demonstrates some degree of competence at the very least and genuine concern and sincerity at most Romney should’ve been there as well.. The fact that he isn’t shows, just how out of touch he is and how incompetent on more levels than I can lay out in this article. The lack of concern is sickening.
written by Davey D