Hurricane Sandy’s approach toward the East Coast Monday brought out a kind of solidarity; we like to pretend that, as a nation, we rally together — and we do. TV news coverage moved from blanket polling analysis to blanket rain and wind analysis. After the last two years of a presidential campaign, that came as a welcome relief.
But the Kumbaya stage won’t last long. Politics is an undeniable aspect of any catastrophe. In a nation where the distribution of power flows from the president down, but the response to a disaster flows from a mayor up, there is bound to be friction in between. Hurricane Katrina pitted a Republican White House against a Louisiana governor and New Orleans mayor of a different party. The tensions around the BP oil spill exposed the political animosity between a Democratic White House and five Republican governors who were unhappy with the response.