This has been one of the most horrible weeks in the history of the Northeast. The destruction caused by Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy is beyond anything we’ve seen before. More than 100 deaths, millions without power, thousands of homes lost or ruined, hours-long gas lines, and stories of trauma and tragedy have surrounded our lives since Monday night. We feel powerless, literally and figuratively.
There are also countless uplifting stories of neighbors helping neighbors and strangers helping strangers. We see the best in human nature come through in times like these. We also occasionally see the worst when looters seize on opportunity, when drivers battle for a place in line, and when the fortunate refuse to help those in need.
For the people in my industry, the power we do have is the power of words. Desperate, needy, angry people want to know when and how their problems will be resolved. They demand to know what’s going on and when is help arriving. Public relations staffs and professional communicators from every involved agency and government are working hard at keeping an anxious citizenry informed. With their guidance, these PR professionals are feeding life-saving information to people through the media; the same PR people are making sure our elected leaders (i.e. Cuomo, Christie, Obama, Bloomberg, and state, county and town officials) are consistently reassuring the public that help is here and we’ll all get through this together. Yes, there already have been missteps and mistakes, but given the magnitude of this terrible situation, we’re seeing a tremendous effort by everyone involved, including by those whose job it is to tell us what’s happening. This is a crisis of epic proportions and there will be plenty of time to judge how well we all responded after it’s over–which can’t come a minute too soon.
P.S. I’ve made little secret that I’m supporting President Obama this election. For all his successes and despite his flaws, I see him as the obvious choice given his opponent’s lack of integrity and ever-shifting positions. Whether you or not you agree, please do your duty as an American and vote this Tuesday!