First and foremost, do not mistakenly become suddenly overcome with ebullience upon reading the headline, as the vacuous, fist-pumping, completely worthless Oompa-Loompa cast from MTV’s Jersey Shore are sadly not what I’m referring to. After all, the coastline would be flooded with hair gel if it involved The Situation. Alas, I am referring to the monster of a storm that slammed the tri-state area–causing an estimated $20 billion in property damage, $30 billion in lost business and a potentially $50 billion recovery effort.
What’s more, the aberrant storm managed to transcend some pretty hefty politics by bringing together President Barack Obama and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a former (at least in public) cheerleader of Romney and strident critic of Obama. Well, let’s face it here: it’s not totally off-base to assume that the garrulous gargantuan governor of the Garden State–realizing that Romney has no chance of
stealing squeezing out a squeaker of a win and thus unable to nominate Christie to the un-electable cabinet-level position of Attorney General–is burnishing his image as an executive with sturdy leadership skills to help his reelection chances in 2013 and (if you’re not a member of the Million Moron Army of those hilarious misspelling racists known as Teabaggers) secure an early nomination for a 2016 presidential run (or perhaps he will gingerly saunter, with heavy breathing).
Politics notwithstanding, the sheer magnitude and enormity of Superstorm Sandy’s effects is still being felt heavily in New Jersey, where the state appears to have reverted into a Mad Max scenario: there’s no gasoline (or, more precisely, in some places there’s gasoline, but no electricity available to operate the pumps). Some stations are rationing and setting a maximum of thirty dollars worth of gas, and you should sooner think about asking to use the microwave without first buying a ancient, shriveled rotisserie wiener of dubious origins from these gas stations than paying with debit or credit: bring cash. (Seriously though, if you see any resident of the Shore or the central Jersey area riding a dunebuggy or speaking with an Aussie accent, run!)
Perhaps the greatest shock was witnessing the all the damage to some of the places that millions have called home for countless years. Obviously the most significant damage occurred to Atlantic City, Seaside, Belmar and almost all the barrier islands. However, seeing Ocean Avenue in Bradley Beach actually live up to its name and be enveloped in ocean water and sand from Bradley Beach–which was well on its way to becoming, well, simply Just Bradley, No Beach–was too much of a shock, especially considering that my folks have a summer beach house there. It made it seem even more surreal.
That hyperbolic “We Built It!” Republican crap (remember, the stadium in which the RNC took place actually received 62 percent of public funds, but facts apparently are for terrorists) appears to be inconveniently rearing its ugly, hypocritical head and flagrantly belying the necessary and urgent government action that was needed to deal with the initial impact of Sandy.
This comic writer has indeed seen plenty of generosity and courage coming from individual citizens, and the private sector has shown tremendously and is indeed needed. Thus, the perfect government is not only divided government, as some believe, but government that co-exists in a pragmatic marriage of convenience, not a Marxist Leviathan as Fox News would have you believe.
Fellow snarkster Matt Taibbi touched on this rather well in his Rolling Stone blog today when he said:
Now, if it were up to today’s bats#t crazy, neo-corporatist (operating under guise as grassroots) Republican Party– one that takes all of its cues from sociopath (and sanctimonious hypocrite, since she lived on Social Security) [idol of teenage boys] Ayn Rand, Rush Limbaugh, and a bunch of severely un-medicated, horribly-spelling racists known as Teabaggers…a group of Rascal-riding Wal*Mart denizens, who are the leading recipient of welfare and handouts, just don’t want the gosh darn government getting involved with their decidedly free-market Medicare and who hate blacks, gays, Mexicans and women more than voting for their economic self-interests.
But this is America; where gullibility is the only infinite resource and where politicians bought by secret corporate donors serve us crap and we’re screaming for seconds with a side of pink slime. So the greatest problem isn’t so much a complete and utter tsunami of ignorance and enough apathy to make a French film, but rather the public servants who want to turn America into Somalia or a banana republic (not the place where you can get a t-shirt for 30 bucks); that is, an ungovernable realm of stark, raving mad armed militias being supported and manipulated by corporate powers and their political puppets who, in many cases, actually rely or have relied on government entitlements at some point or another. “It shouldn’t take a once-in-a-generation hurricane for Americans to admit they need the government occasionally, but that’s apparently where we are.”
Taibbi went on to say that while most Americans would readily admit that they want the government to stay out of their personal lives, we cannot ignore the obvious fact that government assistance in times of crisis is both necessary and desirable.
Hell, even our gargantuan governor, who isn’t exactly Eugene Debs and has consistently played into the hyper-partisan (usually for spite) Teabagger rhetoric of slamming Obama needlessly, has been top-notch and said that President Obama “deserves great credit” for his handling of Hurricane Sandy. It was almost as if it were the 1990s, back when Republican leaders just had different ideas but weren’t mental patients in suits.
It’s very nice to see that the very crucial aspects of very basic foundations of federal, state, and provincial government can function during this incredibly taxing time without being strangled by a bunch of idiot man-children screeching their far-right garbage that makes the rantings of Unabomber Ted Kaczynski look like the Bhagavad Gita.
Michael is a comedian/VO artist/Columnist extraordinaire, who co-wrote an award-nominated comedy, produces a chapter of Laughing Liberally, wrote for NY Times Laugh Lines, guest-blogged for Joe Biden, and writes a column for MSNBC.com affiliated Cagle Media. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, and like NJ Laughing Liberally Lab if you love political humor from a progressive point-of-view. Seriously, follow him or he’ll send you a photo of Rush Limbaugh bending over in a thong.