Warning: The following is a paraphrase of standard conservative talking points applied to the recent natural disasters in the south. If this strikes you as brutal and offensive, it should if you're a decent human being. This is a compare and contrast exercise to examine whether the 'logic' that follows is really any different from the arguments being made about why we should slash social spending. I'm revising and republishing this because of comments and a couple of recent developments to be found in the updates at the end of this diary.
Yeah you heard me.
It's time you gave up your addiction to Big Government coming in to help you pick up the pieces of your life. You're just making things harder for yourselves, and America can no longer afford to keep bailing you out. Taxes are too high already; if we can't afford to have decent public schools anymore, medicare for the sick or social security for the old, why do you think you deserve special treatment just because an 'act of God' singled you out? (more)
Look, nobody made you live in an area where tornados can strike. Why should the rest of us be made to pay for your bad personal decisions? There are private contractors who'd have loved to build you a storm cellar, but no - you couldn't be bothered. Now you want some kind of government hand-out so you can keep living high on the hog?
Sure, bleeding heart liberals are always quick to rush in and spend other people's money, but that's not what made America great. It was individuals taking responsibility for their own lives, living by strong moral values and trusting in the Lord - not some Washington bureaucrats. (Hey - you think maybe God is trying to get your attention?) If you people had just planned ahead, practiced a little discipline, this would have been no big deal.
Look. It's simple. The government can't just keep spending and spending. We have to start making sacrifices now, if we're ever to get America's economy going again.
Here, have some tax cuts. They make everything better.
Funny how obscene all of the above sounds, when the bodies are still being uncovered and the devastation staggers the mind. It's heartless, sick, twisted... and not really all that different from the arguments being offered by 'serious' people earnestly telling us why we should cheer while we and our children are slowly being screwed.
The difference between the tornados of April, 2011 and the plans of people like Paul Ryan or Scott Walker is this: the death and destruction tornados cause is immediate and highly visible; the death and destruction that will result from conservatives without conscience will be far greater and last much longer in ways we can't even begin to fully realize yet. But they can get away with it because it'll be invisible - the grieving families and destruction will be spread around, without the heartbreaking photo-ops of mass destruction happening all at once in a defined location. Just a vast general increase in misery....
It doesn't have to be this way. We can still come together as a country when a natural disaster strikes - but the political disaster we're inflicting on ourselves somehow seems to fall under different rules. Why is it a horror when weather leaves thousands homeless, but just the market at work when financial follies do the same while a handful make huge profits on mass misery?
While conservatives love to natter on about values and principles, the true essence of their philosophy is this: rationalized selfishness. Conservatives have no concept of community. To paraphrase one of my favorite authors, unthinking worship of individualism ignores a basic truth: we can't always save ourselves; sometimes we have to take turns saving each other.
My sympathies and heartfelt wishes to all of those trying to pull their lives together. As always, there are plenty of places to send money to help. I'll leave listing them to others. Please feel free to do so in comments. (Here's a diary from today with some links.) I will suggest if you can donate blood, that's always useful and never more than now. For those looking for some long term hope, there's a community that was almost totally wiped out by a tornado in 2007. They've refused to give up and are working hard to build a better future. You can find out about it here - not the worst model to be looking at for recovery. If you happen to be near Greensburg, Kansas this weekend, here's a pdf file of the anniversary events they're having. They've come a long way in 4 years. Maybe it's a road we should be looking at.
Of course, the Greensburg model depends on community and dedicated government driven by purpose to make life better, things conservatives would have us believe are illusions or folly. They've driven the country onto the rocks and are trying to throw us overboard while they take to the lifeboats, to sail away leaving the wreck behind them. Here's a melancholy tune, with a reminder that we don't have a choice about saving each other - "There are no fucking lifeboats."
UPDATE: As expected, any attempt to suggest maybe this record outbreak of tornadoes might repeat might have some connection with climate change is already drawing a conservative knee-jerk response denouncing it for politicizing a tragedy. Lather, rinse, repeat.
UPDATE TWO: I've gotten more than one comment from people calling this all about hate. I'm just trying to get people to wonder why no one seems to have a problem with a massive Federal response to a disaster in which hundreds have died and thousands have been injured and had their lives ruined - but so many are upset now because of the idea of Federal money being spent to provide millions of children with an education, keep people from dying from lack of health care, and giving the elderly a better choice than working until they die or living in poverty.
We're talking about a self-inflicted unnatural disaster that will affect millions of Americans - if without videos of wreckage, bodies being recovered, and grieving family members. The mental disconnect is staggering when you think about - which is apparently too hard for some people.
And then you get raving hypocrites like Rick Perry complaining that Texas is getting upstaged by Alabama. Give me a freakin' break, okay? Nothing I've put here even begins to match the offensive ideas coming from Republicans every day. (As per Randian here.)