The Republicans have stooped to a new low even for them. They have stated that after FEMA runs out of money the victims of Hurricane Irene will have to help themselves, whether that is possible or not, or the federal government will have to cut other necessary programs which it administers to raise the necessary funds. FEMA has about $800 million left in its emergency fund; Hurricane Irene will cost billions in emergency repairs.
I never thought that the teabaggers would persist in this meme after a disaster of this magnitude, but sadly, it does not surprise me that they have. It simply confirms their self chosen and defined status of being less than human and more like blood sucking trolls for the rich. It would be an easy enough matter to raise enough revenue to support this country’s needs both during normal times and times of crisis simply by making those who have the means fork over revenue they have owed for years but which no one has made them pay. No generosity or sense of community among the very rich. They prefer paying off politicians who enable them to hoard their considerable assets rather than being contributing Americans who act like good citizens.
After Potluck wrote his piece The Worst National Disaster Ever To Face Our Country I got some mail from one of our regular posters. We decided not to put the comments up. We are not going to name the individual or open him up for scorn and perhaps abuse from our other posters, because neither Potluck nor I want the blog to become a free fire zone. We want people to be able to post freely and express their ideas until they cross a certain line. This poster crossed the line. The post repeated the conservative meme that the federal government should not provide disaster aid. That is a lie. There are some types of help that only the federal government can provide.
Potluck and I lived through a natural disaster when Clinton was president and FEMA was allowed to do what it was created to do. Provide help above and beyond what local authorities could. In our case FEMA provided not only grants and small business loans to rebuild, but in some cases large equipment which the military possessed to move rubble and helped to organize first responders from all over the country to help us search for those who were buried under the rubble. The area affected was so large geographically and the damage was so severe that I don’t know what we would have done without that help. It took years to get back on our feet and even now there are still pockets which need rebuilding and buildings and highways which need strengthening.
This is one of the factors aside from common human decency which makes me feel so strongly for other disaster victims in this country and around the world. When we get down to basics, people are more alike than they are different. We all want freedom from fear, we want safety and help when we need it, we want our homes intact, and we want to know that our families are also safe and well. For three days we could not reach my brother’s family to find out if they were safe. The road to the place where he lived had collapsed and it was the only way in or out. Local phone service was spotty at best and no one had been able to call him. He was unable to call out. Finally after the road had been cleared to the point where he was allowed to leave he went to our parents who were aged, in poor health and desperate with worry about him. We had been able to patch together a communication system by calling relatives out of state so everyone else was accounted for. My brother had been unable to do that because his phone company’s equipment had been damaged to the point where it took weeks to gain any real functionality. I know some of you have been involved in disasters and other situations where you have had to wait to find out about a loved one, and I am sure you understand how frantic people get. As frantic as the survivors of Hurricane Irene who are still missing their friends and relatives as the flooding and rains continue. I am also sure that you understand the feeling of wondering what will happen to yourselves and your future if you can’t get help.
This is no small thing. This is a huge thing, but our poster referred to Hurricane Irene as a “small disaster,” that the states should pony up for. He wrote that post after it was known that ten people were dead with more to come. Later the number went up to more than forty and will still rise when the searchers who can search begin the task of doing so. To me a huge storm hitting areas which are already saturated from previous heavy rain which produced flooding only to have the storm surge, rain and more flooding caused by the new storm is a very large disaster which should be attended to by all of the equipment, manpower and aid the federal government can supply. Especially when more hurricanes seem to be forming now.
I wonder what would constitute a “large disaster” for our poster? I wonder if our poster had any human feelings or compassion to be stirred? Not by the tone of his post which seemed downright cheerful as many conservative statements and writings do when they are talking about the losses and miseries of others. I find this tone as appalling as anything else. You can bet that if it were their losses or their interests affected they would be the first in line to ask for federal aid. It always seems to work that way. Nichols and McVeigh were very big on federal farm loans and student loans. They were using our tax dollars while they talked about how much they hated America and then turned around and blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City killing over a hundred seventy civil service employees and the public which was waiting to be served. Take into consideration too that they picked that facility according to interviews with them because there was a child care center there. They wanted to kill children and other innocents to make some sick point about how much they hated big government.
If you listen to the teabaggers mock the unemployed and watch the glee with which they deny them benefits after being instrumental like all Republicans from the time of Reagan on in creating the economic conditions which fostered out intractable unemployment, you have to wonder about how far they are willing to go to make their point about how much they hate government which helps its citizens. Do they want us homeless, sick or just plain dead? I don’t know. But I do know that it is time for them to be turned out of office. Every last one of them, so that the rest of us can start rebuilding this country into a place where everyone can live unmolested, without need and without fear.
I am not comparing our poster to Nichols and McVeigh. I don’t know if he realizes that he sounds like a teabagger, but I urge him to reread his comment which will not be put up and decide where on the political spectrum he stands. By political spectrum I mean what is the heirarchy of needs which he finds compelling. For me a starving child or elder or disabled person is the most urgent. A billionaire or a large corporation having a hissy about how much money they can stockpile is way, way down at the botton. Maxine Waters put it very succinctly when she said that the teabaggers should “all go to hell.” They won’t though. They will remain here trying to make life a hell for the rest of us. No one gets through life without a “small disaster,” though. Perhaps theirs is just around the corner