Hurricane victims get relief...10 weeks later

James Connelly, 70, surveys the damage Friday, November 2, 2012, after riding out Hurricane Sandy in Bayville, New Jersey. (Gary Coronado/Palm Beach Post/MCT)

I miss the days when politicians had the sense to return to their farms after things were sorted out. It made politics a lot less aggravating.

As a Jan. 15 Huffington Post article reads, “More than 10 weeks after Hurricane Sandy brutalized parts of the heavily populated Northeast, the House approved $50.7 billion in emergency relief for the victims Tuesday night as Republican leaders struggled to close out an episode that exposed painful party divisions inside Congress and out.”

Well, that only took nine weeks too long. It’s nice to know even common human decency can become stalled and mired in politics. Whether out of some twisted ideological mentality, or just sheer incompetence, ten weeks is too long for people who are still without electricity or even homes.

It’s not enough to stall relief for the sake of posturing, of course. A Jan. 16 Associated Press article notes some amendments were attached to the relief bill “to offset the $17 billion base bill with spending cuts of 1.6 percent for all discretionary appropriations for 2013.”

As Philip J. Fry once said, “I am literally angry with rage.”
There is a time for political maneuvering and bartering. Helping to provide aid and support for your fellow countrymen is not one of those times. Such antics are as shameful as they are poorly timed. It’s one thing to want to balance the budget. Not now, though. Now is the time to rebuild.

Of course, other bits and pieces were slapped onto the bill, too. All of them show there are politicians out there who, when given the chance, will prove they are sniveling, conniving vultures.

America deserves better. America deserves the kind of people who may be bitterly partisan, but at the end of the day, will support their fellow people without a qualm or moment of hesitation.

Yes, I just complimented Chris Christie. Don’t worry, I won’t make a habit out of it.

America is in sorry shape if our politicians have become so grounded in ideology that even something as simple as hurricane relief can’t be solved quickly and promptly.

Voters should not tolerate such inhuman apathy. Politics are already too firmly bound by partisanship. Compromise is becoming a four-letter word over the simplest things. And when something is agreed upon, the legislation is so weak and full of loopholes it’s nearly useless. Sandy aid relief is just another shining example of what is wrong with America’s politicians.

Still, the legislation was passed. It took too long and proved politicians aren’t above being opportunist weasels over the most humane endeavors. Some people might find that admirable. Some might find it depressingly pragmatic. Others might just find it disgusting. The question each and every voter must pose to him or herself is: which of those am I?

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