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Sandy brings moment of bipartisanship

Published: Thursday, November 1, 2012

Updated: Thursday, November 1, 2012 08:11

Amid the whirlwind of tragedy that came with a hurricane that claimed an estimated 124 fatalities as of Wednesday night, one unintended blessing has emerged after the storm — a glimpse of bipartisanship that has been missing in a political season filled with vitriol and mudslinging.

As photos of President Barack Obama tenderly holding Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s shoulder and soundbites of Christie calling Obama’s response to Sandy’s devastation “outstanding” and “compassionate,” television stations offered viewers an image that has long been erased — an image so starkly different from the us-versus-them mentality that both perpetuated in convention speeches.

While citizens of the Northeast, bound by power outages and flooded streets, came to each others’ aid, it is highly unlikely the rhetoric that has become commonplace during election cycles was given any thought. New Yorkers were New Yorkers, not Democrats and Republicans.

As 4-year-old Abigael Evans perhaps best expressed between sobs in a woefully heartbreaking YouTube video made after the toddler listened to extended election coverage on NPR, “I’m trirerd (tired) of Bronco Bamma and Mitt Romney.” And as her mother consoled her, “The election will be over soon.”

Election politics have come to divide the country into red and blue states with politicians only perpetuating the problem, treating people as voting blocs.

While the ads and rhetoric will come to a halt after Nov. 6, the wounds inflicted can remain, as has been seen in recent years with gridlocked Congresses and executive government branches clashing, resulting in ineffective policy production.

Obama and Christie demonstrated with their noble actions just a week before voters cast their ballots that there is indeed more purpose to politicians than the self-serving banter seen in debates and campaign rallies. Elected officials are intended to serve the people who vote them into office, and Obama and Christie demonstrated the comportment of public servants on this occasion that one would assume is expected of all who enter the career.

Will Sandy be the wake-up call the country has been waiting for?
Maybe, but it should not take a catastrophe of this magnitude to bring Americans together and realize that the maps that television networks will color blue and red Tuesday are trivial in terms of the basic compassion that defines a country’s greatness.

Divya Kumar is a junior majoring in mass communications and economics.

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