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Given the fatalities, the outages, the blockages, evacuations, flooding, fires and cruel destruction, the conversation is, to say the least changed -- from negative barbs to matters of survival, from the broad landscape of promises and plans to the immediate needs of people, from philsophical preference to civil emergency.
We see Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Gov. Chris Christie and the rest on television and hear them on radio, relaying and shaping what emergency officials are reporting from the field. Earlier the evacuation orders were emphasized -- and obeyed unevenly -- and now, it's a matter of managing expectations as to when electricity, roads and other aspects of modern life may return.
Discussions of big disasters take time to form lines of argument and conflict -- 9/11 and Katrina of course spring to mind, and undoubtedly the tsunami in Japan. Then there's the question of how ready people will be to vote, even a week away, and how quickly the systems might recover to accommodate them.
But we are still in the terrain of 'one thing at a time...'