Barack Obama Doesn’t Care About White People (Notes from a Hurricane Sandy Survivor)
I’m being facetious with the headline. Only a liberal can blame a politician for the weather.
When Kanye West spouted his thoughtless (and dare I say racist) line that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” at a Hurricane Katrina telethon, he was drowning in opportunistic rhetoric. With Katrina, liberals found nothing but opportunity: Opportunity to push global warming; Opportunity to push racism; Opportunity to criticize the Republican president who they believed conjured up a storm and blew up levies to drown people because they were black.
Having lived through Hurricane Sandy I can assure you that not once through the ordeal did I have an urge to gain a political point, think about race relations, or wonder aloud how I could pin the death of neighbors on President Obama.
Certainly the opportunity to beat up Barack Obama for the color of his skin over Sandy is there, just as the opportunity to beat up George Bush for the color of his skin was there after Katrina. Sandy’s hardest hit victims lived along the ocean. In New Jersey, that means many, if not most, were rich white people. I could take the opportunity to point out that Barack Obama did nothing to help those people because they were white. I could take the opportunity to point out that Barack Obama has failed to stop the changing climate and now white people are paying the price for that.
The roadblocks preventing me from turning a deadly hurricane into a political action item are several. To name a few, I’d have to lie; I’d have to ignore science; I’d have to make claims girded by politics; and I’d have to be connected to a liberal media. Unlike Kanye West and the American left, I don’t have the racist inclination to do so.
Of the lessons claimed to be learned from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, the one I took away was this: If you run your life such that you depend on government to take care of you, you will end up stranded on a roof waiting for a government helicopter that never comes. Don’t get stranded on a roof waiting for a government helicopter that never comes. Drop the leftist ideology and take care of yourself instead.
Katrina should have made clear to the left (particularly the poor who vote left) that putting your fortune and your life in the hands of government is a bad idea, because government hasn’t the tools to foster either your pursuit of happiness or your salvation, no matter its stated intention. Instead, with the election of Barack Obama, the left doubled down on big government dependence against the tutorial of socialist history and Hurricane Katrina.
I must admit Hurricane Sandy has made me wonder if I should bet more heavily on my own commitment to rugged individualism. I have, after all, a suburban aesthetic. To get water, food, and heat I rely on my relationships with electric companies, grocery stores and fuel oil dealers. For the last seven days, because of Sandy, my relationships with those companies were severed.
Not being from a hurricane state, I was ill-prepared. I took a few easy tips, like filling the cars with gasoline beforehand and filling the bathtub with water so we could work the toilets if the power were to go out (our well pump runs on electricity, so we lose running water when the power is interrupted).
The bathtub water ran out fast. I had no generator to make electricity. No store to buy even dry goods was opened for days. Gasoline was impossible to get at first, then rationed later. The government put a curfew on being out of the house past 7 pm (when I tried to go out, a police officer sent me back home – that curfew still exists as I write this).
I never had the fear of a true apocalyptic event because I knew this would pass. After first pursuing a few bad tips, I finally found a guy selling a generator off the back of a truck. I used the gas I had to find more gas. I could even drive west to less hard-hit areas that had electricity in order to start finding creature comforts and other things I desired.
Probably the most surreal scene was five days after the storm, when I drove the family west and found a restaurant. A television was on (we hadn’t seen one for days). On it was a telethon, and I saw fellow New Jerseyans Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi singing to raise money, ostensibly for guys like me who suffered losses in the hurricane (my house got beaten up). What was strange was that I didn’t feel the way I always pictured other victims of weather catastrophes. As good folks were dialing in to the telethon to send money to me, I was about to order a steak dinner.
I admit I did not fare well due to my own industry. I was lucky. My roof stayed up while some of my neighbors' roofs are now at the bottom of rivers and oceans, along with their possessions. Sadly, some also lost relatives.
I wondered though, “What if I wasn’t so lucky or things were worse?” If my house came down and gas and food were unobtainable, could a refined suburbanite care for his family without the help of government or others? Could I find a way to keep my kin fed and warm? Can I find and carry water? Am I resourceful enough to kill and eat animals in the woods near my home or fish from the ocean with gear I would have to manufacture myself? These are the thoughts that cross a man’s mind as he throws out spoiled food, worries about his children wrapped in blankets and stays confined to his house because the police won’t let him leave.
Certainly a calamity is not the time in your life to find out your worth super-suburbia. One should find out beforehand. I always thought people who spend time on survivalist skills were state militia folks from places like Montana. I never thought ill of them, but I admit that I never pondered the necessity of what they taught themselves. Perhaps a bit of East Coast elitism entered my thinking without me realizing it.
Because of Sandy, I realize now I need to double down on rugged individualism and learn how to survive without a civilized society for support.
Just in case.