I know that people are trying their best to not 'politicize' Sandy and her aftermath. On one hand, I agree. Now is not the time to stump. On the other hand, now is the perfect time to illustrate how federal, state and local governments actually impact our lives every day.
There will be oodles of diaries detailing personal stories of how people survived this storm. I'm sure all of them are more important than my story. But I'm sharing this because sometimes we need to be reminded that the small things matter too.
Follow me below the orange storm tracker to learn how storm clean up swung an undecided voter in Hamilton County (ground zero!) Ohio.
While Sandy was making mincemeat out of my old stomping grounds on the East Coast, Ohio was a little windy. Very windy. I'm an Oklahoma girl, so I usually laugh in the face of wind. I'm used to winds being the stuff of song (now, try to get that musical out of your head). I also live in a house that has withstood the rigors of Ohio weather for 100 years.
My neighbor is not so lucky. His house tends to shed her skin whenever the wind hits 20mph. Last night, with Sandy's gusts hitting over 40mph, his house decided to leave her siding in my back yard. As I was gathering bits of house this morning, he came over to help. And we talked.
We started with the usual pleasantries - just making polite conversation as we hauled planks of siding from the back yard to the trash pile. We talked about family, the annoying neighbors, the local news, etc. He even commented that the only good thing about the brief power loss last night was that he didn't have to see another political ad. Then he said something that made my head spin...
"This is why I don't vote - where's Big Government when you need it..."
I looked at my trash pile, which the city will graciously take away. I looked at the road we share. I looked at the water spigot we would both use to wash our hands after we finished our task. I looked at the police officer who stopped by to see if we needed anything, even though his job just got 33% harder because he lost a third of his colleagues.
"You don't vote?"
"No. All politicians are the same and they don't do a damn thing for me."
Then I pointed to the trash pile, the road, the water that will come out of the spigot and the nice police officer.
"There's your Big Government. It's in the things we take for granted. It's in the things that just work. This election is about whether or not you want them to keep working. You should vote."
He thought for awhile as we finished pulling siding out of the bushes. Then he said something else that made my head spin...
"Will you give me a ride downtown so I can vote? I want things to keep working."
And he voted. For the President. For Sherrod Brown. For the small things that just work.
ETA: Rec list? Really?? Wow - thanks.