October 29, 2012 and December 14, 2012 are two dates that will remain entrenched in the minds of numerous citizens for years to come.
Hurricane Sandy arrived on the New York and the New Jersey coastal line with absolute furor two days before Halloween and, by the time the hurricane subsided, it left millions without power and homes destroyed, along with lifelong memories that took decades to build. The amount of time to rebuild these communities will take years and possibly decades to fully recover from the cataclysmic devastation. But if any group of people can rebound from such a natural disaster, it is the people of New York and New Jersey. They continue to embody the American spirit.
Governors Andrew Cuomo (D-Ny.) and Chris Christie (R-Nj.) were resolute in diligently working and fighting on behalf of their citizens. Congressmen, congresswomen and senators who represented the hardest hit districts in New York and New Jersey should also receive credit for their steadfast dedication in demanding their fellow congressional members to find an alacritous resolution.
It is unfathomable to imagine how hard their jobs have been in working with a dysfunctional, incompetent government. Governor Chris Christie has been the loudest voice among his associates. He has made his level of displeasure known to the country and his Republican brethren.
When news broke that Congress delayed their vote on the $60 billion dollar bill to provide relief to Hurricane Sandy victims, Governor Christie was rightfully apoplectic and expressed his outrage. Congress' behavior has been nothing short of ignominious and unscrupulous. What was obvious to the American people were the residents of New York and New Jersey needed sweeping assistance.
The fact that the GOP members in Congress continued to play childish games with the lives of millions speaks volumes to the diminutive mindset that has spread like a plague throughout their political party. The House of Representatives finally voted to pass a bill giving the residents of New York and New Jersey the remaining $50 billion in aid on January 14th and the Senate followed suit on Monday evening.
Many have questioned why it took so long for our citizens to receive monetary assistance. After Hurricane Katrina, Congress passed a bill within 10 days to supply the region with immediate relief. There are other countless examples of expedient action taken by Congress during tragic incidents. Those were the days when Congress respected the country, their colleagues and its citizens, but lately, Washington, D.C. has become a place where shenanigans and partisanship run amok.
It shouldn't have taken three months and a series of public outcries for the residents of New York and New Jersey to receive the proper assistance to alleviate their pressing issues.
Another group of citizens from the Tri-State area who can sympathize in their frustration with Congress are the 20 family members who lost their children on that fateful December morning in Connecticut. The Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre has ignited a national debate on gun control reform. It triggered an immediate, emotional response from President Obama. He stated, "This is something that -- ya know, that was the worst day of my presidency. And it's not something that I want to see repeated."
Days following the Sandy Hook massacre, the National Rifle Association (NRA) was eerily quiet and took down their facebook page. One week after the tragedy, NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre held an infamous press conference where he blamed everything under the sun except for his own organization's destructive practices. Since that moment, the NRA's outright defiance has been a spectacle for the world to see.
As a result, gun sales have exponentially soared throughout the nation. The NRA should stand for Not Really Aware because they refuse to address the realities facing their organization and the nation as it pertains to guns and gun ownership. Their latest misstep has been encouraging gun ownership of assault rifles for youths. Apparently, they rather live and die by the gun than fix an increasing problem.
But, once again, Congress is standing in the way. The 113th Congress is trying their damndest to supplant the 112th Congress as the most callow in the history of our nation. They're picking up right where they left off in stellar, inept fashion. GOP and Democratic congressmen, congresswomen and senators are quite reluctant to even welcome the notion of gun reform because they're worried about losing their seats in Congress. The NRA contains power in the red and blue states where people seemingly cling to their guns and their representatives are beholden to that threat.
Where the conversation goes from here is any body's guess, but for the sake of the nation, it is time for Congress to start putting our country before their own political party.