Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Rebuilding New Jersey is more important than politics


There’s nothing like a storm to bring proper perspective to the meaning of life.  It’s easy to forget there are more important things to deal with than the quest to win an election.
This past weekend brought greater clarity to what makes me tick.  I was reminded of love while performing the wedding ceremony for Drew Hill and Aidil Ortiz Collins.  Saturday was a day filled with thoughts that left me desiring to leap over the broom.  My day is coming soon.  Life is too short to waste.
Then there’s the storm.  It was hard for me to remain focused.  King, my son, was stuck in Washington, DC on his way to New York City.  Sandy was headed his way.  We talked as I unpacked my bags at the hotel in Richmond, VA.  No matter how old they get, you still worry about your babies.
I was stuck between the celebration of love and the fear of destruction.  Thoughts of the storm intensified as I waited for Connie to make her way to Richmond.  She drove alone.  She was set to arrive near midnight.  She drove in the rain.
I stayed at the hotel as the wedding party went salsa dancing.  My attention remained glued to the television to keep track of the storm.  “This is a record breaking storm,” a meteorologist said. “They will be talking about this one for decades.”
King is safe.  Connie made it to Richmond.  The storm has passed.
Then comes the morning.
Viewing the devastation leaves one numb.  You’re thankful it wasn’t you.  You’re sad for the people impacted by the storm. You’re left wondering what can be done to help them pull from under the rubbish.  Yes, it could have been me.  It could have been my son.  It could have been Connie. 
Knowing that isn’t enough to take the ache away.  Storms connect people.  All divides diminish when the wind and the waves come to pull down trees, destroy homes and take lives.  Storms remind us of things money can’t buy.  They don’t discriminate.  They can’t be controlled by the assumptions of power.
You can’t play games when lives have been lost and people are without utilities and homes.  There’s a job that must be done.
New Jersey Chris Christie understands what matters the most.
“The President has been all over this and he deserves great credit,” Christie said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”.  “He told me to call him if I needed anything and he absolutely means it, and it’s been very good working with the President and his administration.”
When asked if Mitt Romney would visit New Jersey, Christie replied, “I have a job to do. If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, than you don’t know me.”
The biggest news in the aftermath of Sandy is Christie’s praise of Obama. Articles have been written that accuse Christie of coming close to endorsing Obama.  Republicans want him to stop all the praise.  Questions have been raised about Romney’s opposition to continued funding of FEMA.  Yes, hurricane Sandy exposes the weakness of Romney’s plan to shift disaster relief to the states, but none of that takes precedent over what concerns Christie.
Christie is faced with rebuilding New Jersey.  Politics has to take the back seat.  He needs the support of the President, and he has received that support.  Not because it’s the politically correct thing to do, but because it’s the right thing to do.
Storms have a way of reminding us of what matters the most.  Be it love, the fragile nature of life or how quickly things can be taken away, storms teach us an important lesson.
You can’t play politics when people need a helping hand.

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