For those of us in the Northeast, Hurricane Sandy tested all kinds of systems — the logistical, the political, the personal — and like all tests, it revealed a lot about who we are. It showed that our infrastructure is fragile but our hearts are not. Yet as with so many of the disasters over the past decade—I’m thinking of Katrina—some of the tragedy was man-made. Bryan Walsh’s story this week, “Lessons from the Storm,” finds that our electric grid is ancient, our transportation infra-structure is from the last century, we still build where we should not, and our political leadership ignores the effects of climate change. What all of that does is take a grave natural disaster and make it much worse.
At the same time, on the eve of a presidential election, the storm reminds us how important the role of government is in a crisis. The states and the governors have been exemplary. But when a disaster spans multiple states and does billions of dollars in damages, the support of Washington is essential. Indeed, the framers of the Constitution created a central government in part to deal with issues that were bigger than any single state. So this week we also have a voter’s guide to who will lead the federal government. Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review, makes the case for Governor Romney, and E.J. Dionne, a columnist for the Washington Post, argues that re-electing President Obama is the better path. The choice is yours.
For this issue, our U.S. readers will be receiving different covers. In the storm-ravaged Northeast, our cover story is about the lessons of Hurricane Sandy. The rest of the country—about two-thirds of our readers—will get our election special with split covers featuring a Venn diagram: one has the case for Romney on top, the other has the case for Obama on top. Hold it each way and a different candidate is on top. It’s up to you.
PHOTOS: America Votes: Election 2012