So I'm in day 3 of no electric. Gave the baby a bath this morning by heating water in our fireplace. We have some downed trees in the neighborhood, but nothing too serious. Others haven't been so lucky. As we all know, large portions of New Jersey and lower Manhatten literally lay in waste.
Thousands have lost everything they own, many are still stranded in flooded towns - cold, hungry and scared. Some have been killed, some are still missing.
I haven't had a television, and have had to conserve my cell phone power for an emergency. So my only news has come by way of a little battery operated radio tuned into our local 24/7 news station.
I was very pleased to hear how focused and on top of everything the President has been, and was even happier to hear Chris Christie, who I am no fan of, not only handling the situation in our neighbor state so well, but doing so in such welcoming and thankful coordination with Obama and FEMA.
As my wife, kids and I finally fell asleep last night, all of us cuddled on the floor in front of the fire, I was very comforted to know that President Obama was going to do everything possible for those who needed it, and even allowed myself to ponder that perhaps out of this tragedy will come some bipartisan good will from our friends on the right.
Well, it took all of 10 minutes back in the real world, by way of getting in my car and leaving the house for the first time in 4 days, for me to realize that once again I was only kidding myself.
A few minutes into my drive, I turned on the radio, and out of curiousity flipped to the most popular am radio talk station in Philly, which of course is 100% conservative.
The host, whose audience includes the millions of people in Philadelphia and Jersey Shore who are still dealing with the aftermath of the most devastating storm in history, wasn't talking about how to help, wasnt giving vital data about food drop offs or red cross locations, wasn't pulling the people together with inspiring stories about our incredible first responsers and brave neighbors all working together....he was furiously ripping into President Obama over Benghazi. That's right...Benghazi.
Specifically, he was saying that the president is only stepping up to the plate with Sandy because it's good PR before the election, but he had no problem letting our people die in Benghazi.
Next, he railed about Chris Christie, openly stating how deplorable it was that he lavished praise on Obama and FEMA, going off on the damage that does to their message and even potential presidential election chances.
And conservative caller after conservative caller agreed whole-heatedly. My heart sunk.
I remember the days after 9-11 all too well, when Republicans were in charge and the democrats in the minority. I remember the potential "politics" of such an event not even crossing my mind for many months. I remember being proud of Bush, a man I despised, and standing behind him when he stood on that pile of rubble with the bullhorn. We were all Americans for a good long while.
Yet the right couldn't wait for the Benghazzi bodies to be cold before blaming the President. They couldn't wait for Sandy's waters to recede, or the missing people to be found before politicizing the catastrophe and attacking the president with full force.
I generally try to give my political opponents the benefit of the doubt, that they care about people and the country just like me, only disagree with how to address our problems.
But it's becoming undeniable that conservatism is more a cult then political philosophy, a disease of the mind that removes one's humanity, placing hatred of others and the desire for power above all else.
I shudder to think what the right would have done if Obama were in office for 9-11. If Obama lied us into Iraq. If Obama sanctioned torture and illegal detentions. If Obama shred the Bill of Rights with the Patriot Act. If Obama sat on his hands during Katrina. If Obama sank our economy the way Bush did...
The fact is, it's unthinkable, Obama would have been drug out and hung on the White House lawn if any one of those things happened, and everyone knows it. Hell, the guy passed a republican healthcare plan and they are ready to do so.
All I know is these are the people who will take charge, with a perceived mandate, if Obama loses. I can't think of anything more terrifying.
That when a black presidential candidate has a black Christian pastor who, as an ex-military man himself, at times would question America's destructive policies in the Middle East, it's a massive 24/7 media orchestrated SCANDAL for an entire year that nearly costs the candidate the presidency...
...but when a rich white presidential candidate is a freaking bishop in a blatantly misogynistic, racist, comically absurd cult that allows polygamy (what happened to sanctity of marriage?)...it's met with a collective yawn from the media.
Or how when a black candidate is raised poor, discriminated against his whole life from both whites and blacks, yet still manages to overcome the odds and all that adversity to eventually be the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review, a Constitutional Law Professor, a 6 year Illinois State Senator and a US Senator for 2 years....he's an "unknown" who "doesn't understand America" and is probably a secret Kenyan Muslim with an agenda to destroy America...
...but when a white guy is born with a silver spoon up his ass, attends prestigious prep schools his entire life, uses daddy's connections to start a consulting business where he makes hundreds of millions of dollars by maximizing the profits of management at the expense of workers, refuses to release his financial documents to the public including the secret bank accounts he owns all around the world, and has probably never pumped his own gas or worn the same pair of socks twice...well he's a real American and "one of us"...