Though only trees and awnings are down where I am, I have power. I don't live in the valley area anymore, but part of my heart is still there.
But having been in disasters before, I know that for the first few hours, you need to rely on your neighbors, and you may all have to be first responders together. But after that, it's the Federal Emergency Management Administration. Contrary to Mitt Romney, who would dismantle FEMA, the magic of the marketplace just doesn't cover it.
The states have a very mixed record in providing disaster relief and recovery. Longer term recovery is not even something the Red Cross or the churches can take care of, though they all play an important role initially. And with rampant energy companies and insurance companies doing their thing, leaving many residents between a rock and a hard place, we should not confuse our desire for a smarter government with weakening its services and protections.
Many of us have reduced resources because of the financial disaster - a legacy of the Bush years but also the worsening congressional policies of a generation, in thrall to the magic of the marketplace. I for one don't want to see further promotion of an ideology of irresponsible deregulation - and expensive privatization of services - that led us to this uncertain shore. I am unconvinced by Paul Ryan's and Romney's fear mongering and diversionary moves.
However, while it seems early to point fingers, I would suggest that this latest, natural disaster is a reminder that the warming seas can have negative consequences (that could be far worse than what has been happening) and that our national leaders need to get a grip on climate change and not expect the market - or their friends in the energy sector- to take care of this problem. We all may need to sacrifice and pay more at the pump, but Congress needs to stand up to Big Oil - for a change. Or we will all being paying for it for generations to come.
Paul Adams, Astoria, N.Y.