Sound familiar? After the debacle we remember as Katrina, Bush 2 complimented his buddy, Michael Brown, who he gave what he thought was a plum job as head of FEMA . He said, as people were dying in the flooded waters of New Orleans, or suffering through their hellish stay at the Super Dome, “Heck of a job, Brownie!”.
Irene has come and gone, leaving similar devastation, though this time FEMA is actually to be complimented (and remarkably, criticized) for being, of all things, over-prepared. Friends remarked to me, in Western PA on Saturday, about the long lines of utility trucks heading east on the Interstates. While I’m without power right now myself, our local utility is on top of it, and I’ll survive with minor inconvenience. But the big indicator of success is that, as I write this, only 25 people have died along the entire east coast over the last couple of days as a result of that power of nature we named Irene. Contrast that with the death toll of Katrina. Craig Fugate, director of FEMA 2.0, deserves a little credit.
This is what a secular government does. It prepares for and takes care of the welfare of its people, because our government IS its people. With a population of over 300 million, many crammed into population centers that would be overwhelmed without some sort of centralized government support, it’s sheer lunacy for TeaParty idiots to push their small government agenda. The idea of an agrarian America taking care of its own is an archaic notion from the past, except in the minds of certain Senators, Congressmen and others. Watching Obama direct FEMA and the other related government agencies prepare for all aspects of the storm, prior to Irene’s landfall, was watching a President being Presidential and doing one aspect of the job I voted for him to do, and for which I willingly pay taxes.
Contrast his response with that of one of the Republican contenders for his job. Michelle Bachmann said that Irene and the earlier east coast earthquake was a “warning from god”. That would be typical of someone, like a minister, with a religious mindset, delusional as it is, and easily dismissed as such. But she took it a bit further, because she knows exactly what her god is thinking, declaring that it was her god’s attempt to get politicians’ attention focused on the debt and deficit problems. Really? God’s interested in fiscal matters of one of the nations of the world? She now claims that it was a joke, however she didn’t seem to be laughing when she said it, her audience didn’t crack up in glee, and really, are earthquakes and hurricanes now comedy material for Presidential aspirants?
Heck of a job there, Michelle.
Of course, let’s not forget that it was only three weeks ago that Ricky Perry invoked god’s divine intervention for our country. Was an earthquake and a hurricane his answer? A good hurricane takes awhile to set up, so the timing seems spot on – the earthquake softened us up for the big Irene blow. Christians claim that god answers all prayers, and they usually have no problem attaching the most nebulous significance to natural events, so why not? That’s no crazier than claiming these natural events were god’s way of getting our attention so we reduce the deficit according to Tea Party demands. Maybe that prayer circus in Houston caused his eye to rest on us just enough to decide to play a little trick on us? Perhaps he thought it would be a neat little joke to send our way so that Bachmann could make her joke, and Perry could claim credit for it?
That god, he’s such a kidder.