Wednesday, October 31, 2012


The monster storm hit the East Coast of the United States and its punch was merciless. I am always surprised how the Americans are able to come together when they feel being in harm's way.  There is something awesome in this almost spontaneous interplay of hearts and minds. The sleeping Giant comes to life and teaches the world at large how problems must be confronted, head to head. The situation is dire but there is no room for complaints, bitterness or self-pity.  On the contrary, the country looks  united in battle, generous in solidarity. The waves were not allowed to rule.

It is almost as if the elements decided to intervene so that the toxic political debate could be humiliated, or look ridiculous at least.  For a couple of days, the acrimony and the vulgar accusations are in retreat, leaving the political battlefield rot in the debris the hurricane left in its aftermath. One shouldn't be complacent or naive.  Neither should one fail to pay attention where credit is due. Suddenly the contenders for the presidency both look presidential indeed, maintaining their respective disagreements but not letting the former stand in the way of the American values which need to recover after this endless bickering and mutual loathing between opposing parties. No doubt the candidates will try to benefit from this mega-catastrophe and Obama might get some credit for a policy which is all about "being there," which stands in stark contrast with President Bush's "being absent " during Katrina.  Romney has made the smart move to let reason overcome passion.  President Obama and the formidable Republican governor of New Jersey were able to act as partners.  It remains to be seen if this "humane" transformation of words and deeds will persist. At least a moment of grace was created and it showed the world that the United States can apply its soft-power when needed. 

Some radicals on the right and the left will still try to see Machiavellian intentions in the actions and words of whoever gets involved in remedying this situation which will certainly have consequences in the long-term.  The socio-economic fall-out will be gigantic. Yet again the role of government will cast its shadow over the political debate. Those arguments belong to the "normal" ; other vicious personal and ideological attacks on all sides should be swept away together with the waters which encroached on Manhattan and New Jersey.

This should be a moment wherein healing and respect can recover the territory which was lost after the assault of Durer's apocalypse-like hordes of special interests, super PACs, religious zealots, racist agendas and antiquated social machinery. This meteorological nightmare might end up creating an opportunity to calm down and return to American values which after all have proven to be more resistant than what the undertakers of all sides had predicted. The next president will be a "changed" man.  America might have begun finding its way back to what it is. This "perfect storm" might as well have brought closure to the hellish decennial which was ignited in the burning torches of 9/11.

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