BIG GOVERNMENT: WORST RESPONDERS
Depictions of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy are heart wrenching. I say that from the comfort of my desk in warm, dry Western Colorado. It’s hard to imagine the adversity of those who’ve lost their homes, their loved ones, or who’ve been stranded without food, water, gas or shelter for nearly a week. But my heart breaks for them. It didn’t have to be this bad.
New York City has been the source of nanny-government guffaws for almost the entire tenure of Mayor Bloomberg, aka, Nanny Bloomberg. Every facet of life for those who live and work in the Big Apple has been invaded by his nosy policies and self-righteous attempts at comprehensive behavior control. Ironic, isn’t it, that Bloomberg’s wrap-around government has utterly failed to care for even the most basic needs of New York City’s residents in the wake of a somewhat predictable natural disaster.
Hurricane Sandy is a tragic example of how faith in big government is more than just a flawed philosophical point of view. It’s a risky life plan.
I’ve been blessed in two major ways. First: I live in the West where self-reliance is a cultural ethos. Most people out here in the high desert learn to be resourceful and industrious. Populations are low-density with lots of space to grow one’s own food, and abundant wild game to be hunted in season. Second: I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My church–the Mormons–has its own ethos of personal preparedness. Mormons are noted for their self-sufficient mentality and their systems for home storage and emergency preparedness These are teachings that have resounded through Mormon meetinghouses for the last century, so the Mormon penchant for always preparing for the worst is second nature.
Teachings of the LDS Church and other faith organizations run contrary to the political philosophy of the modern progressive movement. Churches teach that the only form of government designed to properly care for the needs of the individual is the family. Progressives expound the lie that secular, command and control government is the first and last mechanism, from cradle to grave, that is capable of curtailing human want. Hurricane Sandy, Katrina, and all the muddy, bloody disasters of recent memory are hard-knocks object lessons of government’s inability, even under the best of circumstances, to mobilize quickly and sufficiently enough to take care of people in the midst of chaos and destruction.
As I write this people in the Northeast are without electricity and heat. Nearly a week after Sandy ravaged New Jersey and New York people still cannot get food and water. Gasoline is being rationed, and for those with the ability to get to a gas station waiting on line has taken up to six hours. Bodies are still being pulled out of debris. Yesterday a cold front moved into the Northeast where already frustrated and spent people are being further exposed to dangerous weather conditions.
No force on earth could have prevented the damage caused by “Frankenstorm.” Those worst hit, whose homes and neighborhoods were leveled, could do little other than evacuate. Those whose lives were lost were victims of nature’s brutal force, and their absence will echo through the hearts of their loved ones for years to come. But it didn’t have to be this bad. The one factor that could have helped many people escape the suffering and privations of their present circumstances would have been personal and home preparedness. The basics of emergency management in the home; a 72 hr emergency kit, home storage of food, water and medicine, and neighborhood support networks–usually organized by churches or community clubs–would be enough to ensure survival and a measure of comfort for the first week to ten days following the disaster.
President Obama attempted a clever deception when he visited New Jersey with Governor Christie. He sought to project a sense of security and certainty to those suffering from the effects of the storm, and an image of authority to the rest of the country. That attempted deception has resulted in exasperation, disappointment, heartbreak and anger. The government–and who knows exactly what that means–promised they would be there to save the victims of Hurricane Sandy, and they never showed up.
Arrogant and foolish acts such as Mayor Bloomberg’s refusal of assistance from the National Guard in New York City because he didn’t want anyone other than the NYPD to be carrying guns, have cemented the sad conclusion that local, state, and federal government is unreliable and incapable of responding appropriately in the midst of disaster. Neighborhoods, churches and families, those personal governing entities closest to the individual are the first and best responders, and the only ones that can be counted on to truly care for the needs of individual Americans when disaster strikes hard and fast.
Natural disasters happen. With proper preparations the loss of life and property can be minimized. But believing that government can do the preparation for you, or that they will be there to save you in the aftermath of disaster is a dangerous, even deadly proposition.
by Marjorie Haun 11/4/12