Editor’s Desk: A Time For Choosing

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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.

(MORE: Lessons from the Storm by Bryan Walsh)

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.

(READ: The Case for Mitt Romney by Rich Lowry and The Case for Barack Obama by E.J. Dionne)

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


Matthew 12:25Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 

Abraham Lincoln used Jesus' words in his famous "house divided" speech. On the eve of the day after the election, I am thinking of Paul's word to Timothy: I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone -- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, tha man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men -- the testimony given in its proper time. And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle -- I am telling the truth, I am not lying -- and a teacher of true faith to the Gentiles

I want all men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing. I Timothy 2:1-8.

If Paul could write these words in the first century living under the Roman government with their distaste for his Jewish people, shouldn't we be more ready to pray for all of our government leaders today and all those in any kind of authority, regardless of whether our candidate won or not? I saw one headline that President Obama faces a divided government. Whether we supported him or not, let's pray that our government can hear from God, who reigns over us all, and work together for the good of all people everywhere. I'm not so sure that God answers our prayers when we pray for our team to win, but I am certain he hears prayers that we might be reconciled one to another. We can be strong as a nation as we learn more and more to hold each other in prayer.


Two presidential candidates: one is the  incumbent president, during whose 4-year term  good and bad things have happened while the other  boasts of good things that will he will do  during next 4 years, if elected president. Whom to believe ?

Sabino Fernandes


I have been a reader of Time Magazine for 10 years now. I like your magazine for being mostly neutral. But when Time Magazine arrived in my mailbox today I was really dissapointed. If you wanted to make the case that the cover was supposed to be equal and reversible, you should have designed it differently. No matter how I look at it, my cover reads: Vote Romney. When I look at the date, where the address label is and how I need to hold the magazine to start reading it: Vote Romney is clearly at the top. So much for this being a non-partisan issue. If you endorse Romney, just say so. Don't hide behind this fake facade. If you maintain not endorsing any of the candidates this issue's cover should haven been designed differently. So many options were available; why chosing this poor alternative! I cannot explain how dissapointed I am. Expected so much better from a quality magazine like Time.


The sight of President Barack Obama and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie refusing to play politics with hurricane Sandy presents us with a parable for our country. In the midst of what was countless times called a “huge crisis,” the two political antagonists came together. In short, they crossed the aisle, teamed up, drew on the better angels of their nature, and pooled their wisdom. 

“Huge crisis.” Where have we heard those words before? Just stick any of the following much touted adjectives between those two words: financial; economic; housing; energy; health care; national debt; Iranian; foreign policy. We have learned to recite the names of these crises by rote anytime we want to. So how is that going for us?

Instead of taking the crises as opportunities to pool our collective wisdom, we have used each crisis as an opportunity to intensify the culture wars of the late twentieth century. We now have reached such a pitch of hubris that we strut about the land absolving ourselves from anything whatsoever to do with any of these crises, fixing blame on everyone else, demonizing each other and declaiming: We have the right analyses and the right policies; everyone else is a fool. 

The Christie-Obama Sandy narrative invites us deal with our country’s crises in a better light. It is not about lionizing government as the solution to our ills. But neither is it anti-government. It is a parable about coming together and pooling our wisdom to face crises with cohesion and cooperation among us all for our common good. Cynics will say, well, what did you expect from Christie and Obama in the face of that devastating storm? To the cynics, and to us all, I answer with a well known parable. A house divided against itself cannot stand.