A refreshing political Kum Ba Yah on Idalia recovery efforts

by | Sep 4, 2023

Ah, politics. The realm of the eternal campaign, where a day without a Twitter er… “X” feud is a day without a sunrise. But what’s this we saw on Saturday? A glimmer of bipartisanship cutting through the usual mudslinging, finger-pointing, one-ups-manship, blame games, and social media gotcha? Yes, believe it or not, even in these days of divisive debates and countless cable news showdowns, it seems some things can still unite us. And for that, let’s tip our hats to good old Mother Nature, specifically Hurricane Idalia.

This weekend President Joe Biden hopped on down to the Sunshine State, a rare presidential visit to rural North Florida. And lo and behold, he was joined by U.S. Senator Rick Scott. Let’s not forget that Scott and Biden, despite sitting on opposite ends of the political spectrum, are traditionally anything but chums. And while Gov. Ron DeSantis didn’t make an appearance (he had other fish to fry—or rather, other communities to visit), his absence was taken in stride.

Normally, DeSantis’ absence would spark its own weather system of media speculation and partisan spin. Yet, Biden was understanding, noting they’ve been in “frequent touch” since Hurricane Idalia made its dramatic entrance. The governor, he explained, had helped Biden’s team coordinate the presidential visit, and was now busy elsewhere in the state, making sure his constituents were taken care of. And the best part? No one threw shade.

It turns out that hurricanes don’t discriminate based on party lines. When you’ve got 120 mph winds blowing through your backyard, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, or somewhere in between. Take a poll and you’ll find 100 percent of respondents are opposed to hurricane damage (with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level, because there are always idiots out there). But basically, people of every political persuasion would rather not have their homes turned into driftwood. It’s a platform almost everyone can stand behind—or in this case, hunker down beneath.

When disasters strike, it’s time for officials to roll up their sleeves, regardless of their political branding. And it’s encouraging to see that’s exactly what is happening. Scott and Biden – two guys who were at each other’s throats during the mid-term elections – were even in the same chopper for goodness sake, surveying the devastation from the air and discussing recovery. No cheap shots, no one-upmanship, just a shared commitment to people in need.

As for the additional counties that got added to the federal disaster declaration, that was another bipartisan win. Funds will be flowing, and both sides of the aisle can take credit for coming together to make it happen. High fives all around.

So, as we clean up after Hurricane Idalia, let’s relish this moment of unity, however fleeting it may be. A gentle reminder that when the rain starts pouring and the winds are howling, we’re all just people hoping our roofs will hold. Sometimes it takes a storm to remind us that under all the bickering and policy debates, there’s still a basic human decency that can emerge—if we let it.


  1. dmmorrison

    DeSantis sure did show us his lack of class.

  2. Pat Regan

    DeSantis is an embarrassment to all Floridians. What other governor would not accompany the president of the US who came to see the damage done by a natural disaster.

  3. John

    DeSantis’s childishness was on full display for not only Floridians, but the nation. In a time we need to come together to help each other, he chose to be divisive. He’s the worst governor in our state’s history and should never become president.

  4. Maria Garaitonandia

    Guys, gimme a break. DeSantis has done an excellent job in all things related to hurricane response since he took office. Gotta give credit where credit is due. Good that Biden learned from his mistake in the slow response to the Maui disaster but ultimately, the governor has more pressing matters than taking photo ops with the president.

    • dmmorrison

      That’s odd, because DeSantis is all about photo ops, culture wars and other political pettiness.

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