There is now a debate as to whether the media overplayed Hurricane Irene. It can be argued as we watched a 24/7 cable news media ignore the Libyan Revolution story once the Hurricane story began, that todays news media seems not to want to cover multiple stories but rather is intent on focusing extensively and exclusively on one major subject. Nevertheless, it must be admitted that with the advance warnings and the coverage there has been less misery caused by failure to respond to this storm than say with Hurricane Katrina where decisions were made often too late and assistance came often too little.
Some Republican candidates are calling the recent east coast earthquake and hurricane “God’s judgement” on liberal America. They say that Divine Providence is sending us a message. Well, as I see it if there is a providential message here it is that the recent east coast earthquake and the subsequent storm are a clear example for why we need to maintain a national government that can help its citizens when conditions occur wherein they cannot help themselves.
The right wing radical tea party Republicans want to dismantle FEMA because it failed to work in New Orleans under their Republican administration. But no one is complaining about FEMA’s presence now on the east coast. These yahoo Republicans have cut the funding for the NOAA weather satellites and tracking program so that in a few years the degree of detailed and extensive tracking that allowed state and local government officials to plan their response to the coming storm will not be available.
I don’t understand conservatives who want to dismantle all government at the national level, I can understand reforming and improving and making more efficient those aspects of government that serve a clear and accepted purpose, e.g. weather forecasting, national defense, aid to residents and businesses when they are victims of a natural catastrophe. As a Liberal I go further and want a national government that protects the civil liberties of all our people, guarantees a good paying job for all and access to quality education, and of course access to quality health care, and guaranteed old age assistance (both medical and social insurances).
This idea that the radical tea party right wing Republicans are pushing that we don’t need government; that any agency you mention: FEMA, EPA, NOAA should be abolished or curtailed; and that social security, Medicare and education should be privatized, so that the privileged few will have access while others are outside looking in, is alien to the precepts that have motivated the majority of the people of our nation for 235 years and been the basis of the social compact that underlies our nations laws and constitutions since the Mayflower Compact (1621).
It’s time for people to take a look at this tea party movement and see it for what it is. The same activists who ten years ago were in the radical religious right movement seeking to take over the Republican party following Pat Robertson, and a decade before that supported the culture war rallying cry of Pat Buchanan are today the Tea Partiers. Extensive studies have been done to document this. Some sharp right wing consultants have done a masterful job of making people think this is all a new group of disaffected middle class people, sort of a rebirth of Reagan Democrats. The data shows that those most active in the Tea Party movement were active in right wing Republican efforts in the past - that they are uncomfortable with the direction of this nation -- by that I mean they dislike the concept of diversity and equality (whether racial or gender), they are unfriendly toward the idea that we should continue to welcome immigrants and they oppose big government unless that government is willing to impose their moral values on everyone else.
We’ve built a great nation in America. Our United States is the most successful (economically and militarily) democracy in the world today and in modern history. We built a middle class America - in fact in the 1950's some would have said we were building a classless America.
Our nation’s story is a great one. From the Puritan dream of “a shining city on a hill” we became a shining nation between two oceans. We can continue to be in Lincoln’s words “the best hope for mankind” if we reject these radicals who appeal to fear and to bigotry and to selfishness. As a people we can continue to support the concept of a society where all treat their neighbor as themself; and, where a government always based on the consent of the governed strives to make that concept a reality.
30 August 2011