For me, what happened in Moore, Oklahoma is a reminder of the flawed policies and mindsets that comprise the Republican Party.
Here we have another situation where a state and its representatives essentially fought to deny federal aid to a group of victims, but now find themselves in need of aid themselves.
But Oklahoma's two senators, both Republicans, found themselves in an awkward position for having voted against the $60 billion supplemental appropriation bill that was largely aimed at providing relief to victims of Superstorm Sandy, which slammed into coastal New York and New Jersey last year.Certainly, the victims of the Oklahoma tornadoes are deserving of assistance for the losses that they suffered. But so are the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
The Republican Party is always gunning for less taxes and government spending (or at least shifting the tax burden away from and the spending towards the wealthy). But that also means less taxes and spending for services that serve everyone, and yes, even federal aid and disaster relief.
Some of that spending could have gone to improving the emergency facilities in tornado-prone areas like Moore, Oklahoma. Some of that spending could go toward the organizations that predict and track inclement weather. Some of that spending could go toward the agencies that enforce safety regulations at places like the fertilizer plant in West, Texas, that sat next to a couple schools and people's actual homes. Then, maybe we wouldn't need to spend so much in the aftermath.
In January, Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe called the Sandy appropriations bill a "slush fund" because it included long-term infrastructure spending and funding for projects aimed at disasters other than the devastation along the U.S. East Coast.Yeah, so, pretty much all the kinds of things that make disasters like Moore, Oklahoma, Hurricane Sandy, and West, TX less horrific and unpredictable and the recoveries less protracted. But, you know, "slush fund."
Inhofe vowed that Oklahomans in need would not abuse federal disaster aid, as he said had occurred in the aftermath of Sandy.That some people may or may not abuse federal aid is not reason to deny the aid to people who do need it. If that was the criteria for what the federal government spends our taxes on, let's stop the corporate tax cuts now. Let's stop the agricultural subsidies, and unemployment and Social Security while we're at it. If federal aid abuse is your concern, why not spend a little more to make sure safeguards are in place so that the abuses aren't as costly. You know, like when a homeowner purchases a gun to protect against theft, instead of giving away all of his electronics lest they may someday be pilfered.
"That's totally different," Inhofe told cable TV network MSNBC. "Everybody was getting in and exploiting the tragedy that took place. That won't happen in Oklahoma."
Maybe I shouldn't be expecting much from the Republican Party that we all know and love. But when will the people in this country wake up realize that coddling and tolerating and apologizing for Republican politics costs our country in precious human lives, in quality of living, and in trust that the government we pay for is the government we actually get?
Perhaps kos said it best in the wake of the West, Texas fertilizer explosion:
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.In fact, we are all in this together, as events like Moore, Oklahoma should prove to even the most hardened, selfish, and isolated of Americans. After all, there is no person in this country who is not at risk of the kind of tragedy that occurred in Moore, Oklahoma, that occurred in West Texas, that occurred in Bangladesh, that can and eventually will occur in every part of this world. And when those tragedies occur, the recovery requires more than what one single person, or what one single community, can do all on their own. Not unless we are willing to strike places off our maps and out of our GPSes and out of our consciences until they're done rebuilding.
Either we're all in this together, or we're not.
Everyone faces times of need, times of hardship, and everyone deserves help during those times. But in the Republican world, only the brethren get help. Everyone else can just fuck off.
One of the arguments I get into with one of my detractors, whenever I post pro-Democrat or anti-GOP links on facebook, is that both parties are corrupt and hypocritical, and that it's better not to support either of them.
No. Maybe both parties suffer from some of the same flaws that most groups with significant political power face. But both parties also try to live up to the ideals that they sell to their supporters. And the ideals of the Republican party reflect tribalism, selfishness, and zero-sum games, while the Democratic party's reflect unity, humility, and leaving a better world to our descendents. And the Democratic Party deserves far more recognition for living up to its principles in times of hardship.
In my mind, there really is no room for Republicans in the world we are living in. So long as the people in this country are facing unpredictable, deadly, natural as well as man-made disasters, medical care that needs to be provided, life-altering climate change that needs to be managed, and the turmoil that comes with living paycheck to paycheck, Republicans and their supporters are dead weight to the rest of us and only stand in the way of making the changes we need to make before we leave this world to our kids and grandkids. But then, there's no denying that Republicans are also a demographic of the people with whom we need to plan on sharing this better world, because they are likely not going to change their ways anytime soon. The best we can do is get them out of the way, as in out of our government, like leading a pack of lemmings away from a cliff, where they can't hurt anyone else but themselves.