Op-Ed: The irony of hurricane Sandy and Eric Cantor's campaign ads

Posted Oct 29, 2012 by W.V. Fitzgerald
Is Hurricane Sandy coming just days ahead of the election bad timing for Eric Cantor and the house Republicans? For some it serves as a daily reminder of their position following Hurricane Irene.
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As my family and I prepare for the effects of Hurricane Sandy I can’t help but be reminded of hurricane Irene. In August 2011 my family and I hunkered down in our Richmond Virginia home as Hurricane Irene swept up the east coast of the United States. We lost our electricity early in the storm so we spent the night listening to the occasional tree falling outside and the sound of our privacy fence blowing across the yard like a kite with no-one holding the string. As the storm moved out of the area and the sun came up we were happy to find that with the exception of our neighbors utility shed that had been obliterated the damage in our immediate area was mostly confined to the fence and trees, we had been lucky. We would spend the next eight days cooking over a fire in the back yard and living by candle light before getting our electricity turned back on and that was short when compared to many in the region.
In the past, even the most hardened politician would have called for unity and a temporary suspension of the partisan politics of the day when faced with a disaster, particularly if it involves their constituents.
Senator Bernard Sanders of Vermont said it best when he told the New York Times:
“Historically in this country we have understood that when communities and states experience disasters, we as a nation come together to address those. That is what being a nation is about,”
Unfortunately, in the aftermath of Irene Eric Cantor and the House Republicans did not call for unity, they did not call for the nation to come together nor did they put the partisanship on hold while Americans dealt with the disaster. In an unprecedented move, Eric Cantor announced that he and his counterparts would be holding disaster relief hostage, if they couldn’t have their way they wouldn’t approve the funding. Their response to the disaster served to prove to anyone who may have previously had doubts that for the house Republicans, nothing is sacred, nothing is off limits; even a natural disaster that affects millions of Americans is not more important than promoting their agenda.
For the past several days we have all been watching the projected path of Hurricane Sandy and listening intently to the expected effects of the coming landfall along the east coast. The real irony of it all is that for many of us here in Virginia the reports have been intermingled with Eric Cantor’s campaign ads serving as a constant reminder of what a vote for Cantor will get us in a time of crisis. With election so close at hand I don’t believe that we will be hearing any statements from Cantor or his counterparts regarding disaster relief, at least not before the election.
The wind has been gusting slightly throughout the day and the rain began to make its way into the area a couple of hours ago, by this time tomorrow things are expected to be much worse. Here in Central Virginia we are expecting tropical storm condition with extensive power outages, downed trees and property damage (mostly resulting from the downed trees).