Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday declared McLennan County - home to West, the small community rocked by the deadly fertilizer plant explosion - a disaster area and announced that he's asking President Barack Obama for a federal emergency declaration as well.That's not an unreasonable request, and the victims of the fire and the residents of West deserve it. (Even if West Fertilizer Co should ultimately pay the costs for gross negligence.)
Still, it's curious seeing Perry run to the feds after hearing his secessionist rhetoric because of the "oppressive" federal government. And he's joined in the hall of hypocrisy by the rest of the area's federal delegation.
U.S. Rep. Bill Flores, whose district includes West, called on all Americans to pray for the victims of this tragedy [...]How does Flores plan on assisting? By asking for federal aid presumably (his prayers won't accomplish anything tangible), the same kind of federal aid he voted against for Sandy victims.
"I am grateful for all of the police, fire, emergency responders and volunteers from our community and around the state who have come to aid those in need," he said. "Our offices will continue to monitor the aftermath and be on hand to assist our friends and neighbors throughout the recovery process."
"It was too large," Flores said about the latest bill Wednesday. “It does more than meet the immediate needs of Sandy victims."Then there are the two Texas senators:
Flores, whose district includes Waco, said he could have supported an earlier version of the bill with $17 billion in aid if it had been offset by federal spending reductions.
U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz of Texas released a joint statement saying they are among those grieving for those who were injured or lost loved ones in the blast.Both Cornyn and Cruz voted against Sandy aid as well, of course. What kind of aid do they think they are proposing for West? Aside from their prayers, that is.
"(We) are grateful to the firefighters and first responders who risked their own lives to keep others safe," they said. "We ask all Texans to keep West in their thoughts and prayers. We remain in communication with Gov. Perry's office and emergency management officials, and stand to offer whatever support we can."
Again, the federal government will and should absolutely lend resources to the town's recovery. But perhaps the state's politicians should be less hostile toward similar aid to other parts of the country. Otherwise, the people of West and their neighbors should reconsider reelecting people like Flores with 80 percent of the vote.
Either we're all in this together, or we're not.