As the nation deals with the impact of Hurricane Sandy, it ought to be a time to set aside partisan politics -- even with the election just a week away. But Mitt Romney has decided to continue campaigning in the battleground state of Ohio (renaming his election rallies "Storm Aids Rallies"). He is putting politics before country.
Press badge for today's "storm relief event" in Ohio: twitter.com/Ari_Shapiro/st...
-- Ari Shapiro (@Ari_Shapiro) October 30, 2012
Compare that to the response of people like President Obama and GOP New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a strong ally of Governor Romney. When asked about the election, President Obama (who has returned to the White House to oversee relief efforts) said:
I am not worried at this point about the impact on the election. I'm worried about the impact on families, and I'm worried about the impact on our first responders. I'm worried about the impact on our economy and on transportation.
The election will take care of itself next week. Right now, our number-one priority is to make sure that we are saving lives, that our search-and-rescue teams are going to be in place, that people are going to get the food, the water, the shelter that they need in case of emergency, and that we respond as quickly as possible to get the economy back on track.
Governor Christie had the same message this morning. When asked if Romney would be joining him in New Jersey this week the governor declared:
I've got a job to do here in New Jersey that's much bigger than presidential politics, and I could care less about any of that stuff. I have a job to do. I've got 2.4 million people out of power. I've got devastation on the Shore. I've got floods in the northern part of my state. If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, then you don't know me.
Meanwhile, federal officials and non-profits, including faith-based groups, are working with leaders like President Obama and Governor Christie to respond.
Most Americans have never heard of the National Response Coordination Center, but they're lucky it exists on days of lethal winds and flood tides. The center is the war room of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, where officials gather to decide where rescuers should go, where drinking water should be shipped, and how to assist hospitals that have to evacuate.
Gov. Christie reports on how the federal response is working:
"It's been very good working with the president," Christie said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "He and his administration have been coordinating with us. It's been wonderful."
On NBC's "Today," Christie said the president had been "outstanding" and FEMA's response has been "excellent."
As we keep all those impacted by the storm in our prayers today, let's set aside the usual partisan politics and figure out how we can help.
Church World Service (CWS) has issued an emergency appeal for donations. "Founded in 1946, Church World Service is a cooperative ministry of 35 Protestant, Orthodox, and Anglican denominations, providing sustainable self-help and development, disaster relief, and refugee assistance around the world." The United Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ are both members of CWS.