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A nasty fall surprise for the Atlantic Coast

Saturday, November 3, 2012 - 12:01 am

Would it be possible put the presidential election off a few weeks so people affected by Hurricane Sandy could better get to the polls? What’s the Constitution say?

Since no election was postponed even during the Civil War, that was a patently absurd suggestion. But it is one sign of just how bad the destruction was from Frankenstorm, the worst hurricane to hit the East Coast ever. Because Sandy was met by – even sucked in by – an already existing winter storm, this big bag of wind had almost every kind of bad weather possible, including heavy snow.

The damage is in the billions, millions are without power and the death toll seven days after the storm hit is rapidly approaching 100. Tempers flared as thousands were stuck in lines waiting to fill their cars with gasoline that just wasn’t there. Major cities flooded. The stock exchange was closed for two days in a row, and the New York City subway needed to be drained.

Occurring as it did during the presidential campaign, Sandy ignited a national discussion about how best to respond to such emergencies. What roles should federal, state and local governments have, and who should take the lead. There was also another round of “global warming is bringing us these catastrophes” pro and con.

In the end, we learned the same lesson we always do and promptly forget: No matter how much we think we are in charge, Mother Nature always has the last word.