They say, after disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes, there is a romance period when everybody gets together and pitches in. The president embraces the governor who visits the mayor who commends the community leaders who begin to address the unforgiving emergency situation.
Everyone bands together and American unity lives on.
After about three days, the food in the fridge goes bad and the gas runs out. Appointments can’t be kept, prescriptions can’t be filled and the laundry needs attention. The furniture is at the curb, the boats are on the lawn, the trees are on the houses and the clean-up has yet to begin. The insurance papers are gone, if there were any, and any hope of rebuilding lingers heavily as a distinct impossibility.
Now the cameras are focused elsewhere, like on a presidential election.
In a democracy of about 300 million, only about one-third of the population vote. The winning party gathers little more than half of that vote, which adds up to about one-sixth of the overall population. Right now, that’s the segment of society controlling the cameras.
President Barack Obama suggested that we once again become a nation that looks out for each other — a notion that has been thrown around from the Roosevelts to Eisenhower. This is something that’s been missing in our modern, dog-eat-dog world of unparalleled personal wealth and drawing lines in the sand.
Outspoken radio talk show preachers have become rich waving the flag of us against them. Xenophobes of yesteryear would cringe over such incestuous barbarianism.
And word on the street is, since the debacle of the election, the conservatives and the Republicans are going to start chewing on their own tails to separate themselves from the failure of their politics without relinquishing the folly of many of their outdated and onerous supplications.