Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Wind of Change
One of the reasons why the utter devastation caused by, say, the Joplin tornado doesn't often sink in at a visceral level is ironically because these storms do so much damage that it's almost impossible to imagine what the affected areas looked like in the hours leading up to them. It's simply unimaginable that the barren wasteland you're now seeing on TV was once a thriving neighborhood or town; our minds can't comprehend that level of destruction. Maybe that's why the above before-and-after image is so jarring. Any of us could have lived in this comfortable middle-class area -- the one that's now nothing but a memory. As usual, if there's anything you can do to help please give to the Red Cross.
Also, I really do hate to bring politics into this but I was looking for a way to mention a recent series of interviews and the Missouri tornado hands it not just to me but all of us -- because it matters to all of us -- on a silver platter. A couple of weeks ago, during a two- or three-day press tour that came off like a greatest hits of sociopathic Randian objectivism, Doctor Ron Paul spouted a whole litany of predictably terrible ideas cast as nuggets of libertarian wisdom, all of which confirmed his role as the mayor of the fringe right. What struck me the most, though, was this statement -- made during an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer -- in which Paul said he'd abolish FEMA because, well, it's big government, and in case you haven't been paying attention, "Big government bad, take away freedoms. Argh! Paul smash!"
"Well, if you want to live in a free society, if you want to pay attention to the constitution, why not (abolish FEMA)? I think it’s bad economics. I think it’s bad morality. And it’s bad constitutional law. Why should people like myself, who had, not too long ago, a house on the Gulf Coast and it’s –- it’s expensive there and it’s risky and it’s dangerous. Why should somebody from the central part of the United States rebuild my house? Why shouldn’t I have to buy my own insurance and protect about the potential dangers? I mean it’s –- it’s a moral hazard to say that government is always going to take care of us when we do dumb things. I’m trying to get people to not to dumb things. Besides, it’s not authorized in the constitution."
The irony is almost too delicious that a couple of days after he made this asinine argument, thousands of people living in the ostensibly safe "central part of the United States" saw their lives wiped-clean and are now in desperate need of help. But hey, screw them, right? They chose to live in an area that can be hit by tornadoes so why should I have to pay for their colossal fuck-up? Suck it, you needy parasites.
It's really staggering when you think that this is the direction in which the center of the Republican party is being forced to move in 2011: toward not caring one bit about the citizens of this country as a mission statement.
(Adding: Oh yeah, then there's this.)