The political winds of the presidential election were believed to have calmed down this week when Hurricane Sandy unleashed her fury upon the East Coast. And while they did for close to 48 hours, the politics of the presidential election quickly began to resurface.
But amidst the partisan bickering and devastating damage of the storm, one normally loud-mouthed politician stood above the fray, buckled down and served the people of his state.
The state of New Jersey experienced tremendous damage and devastation and governor Chris Christie (R-NJ) exemplified true leadership in the most trying days the state has experienced in recent memory.
In Atlantic City alone, roughly 70-80 percent of the city was underwater by early Tuesday morning and more than two million residents were without power on Wednesday, about half of those in the state. More than 6,000 people were staying in shelters, according to state emergency officials. At least eight people died, and city officials warned that the toll would rise as more searches of homes were carried throughout the Garden State.
Chris Christie immediately began to exemplify crisis leadership traits by overseeing rescue efforts, surveying and experiencing hands-on the devastation brought by the storm, and also consoling and comforting those who were victimized by the raging storm.
President Obama declared New Jersey as a state of emergency and personally visited New Jersey to behold the damage. Christie, a Republican governor, heaped lavish praise on the Democratic President, calling Obama’s response to the tragedy “outstanding.” He boasted at the fact that the president had called him several times to check on the progress of the rescue efforts, even once calling him at midnight.
This caused an outrage amongst some Republicans who felt that Christie’s praise towards Obama was unnecessary and politically toxic. Conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh opined that “Christie doesn’t know what he is talking about.” Daily Caller editor Matt Lewis suggested there was a drift between Christie and Romney. “So what’s up?” Lewis asked. “Is Christie angry he was passed over for vice president? Has he resigned himself to Romney’s defeat? Or is something else afoot?”
The fact of the matter is simple: the Governor was elected to serve the people of New Jersey, and he did. He wasn’t there to check the status of the latest presidential polling to see how his response would affect the race. It was a time to rise above the partisan political bickering and display leadership, which has apprently become a foreign concept among elected politicians today.
It is quite obvious that Christie is a Romney supporter as he endorsed the GOP contender early on and was the keynote speaker at the 2012 Republican National Convention. But as many Ney Jersey citizens’ lives are tormented by Hurricane Sandy, it was time to put away the campaign rhetoric and adhere to the demanding needs of his state.
I applaud Chris Christie’s actions. He rose to the occasion and proved to the American people that we can and we must put aside our political differences to help mankind in its time of sorrow and affliction.
Anybody who is willing to look through a political lens in the time of a national crisis, needs to do a self-evaluation. Leadership makes permanent impacts on individuals, while politics only serves a temporal cause.