William Shira | Horrifyingly Hilarious
Nobody to blame
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 08:10
This week’s presidential race has been relatively quiet — at least as of yesterday morning, the deadline for the submission of this article. Morgan Freeman was recently resurrected after a dramatic Facebook death to replace Big Bird as the centerpiece of President Obama’s new campaign ads. The economist Paul Krugman claimed that the Romney tax plan was as phony as Paul Ryan invading the Ohio soup kitchen in order to get his picture taken without actually cleaning any dishes. Vice President Joe “The Wildman” Biden won the debate with Paul “The Numbers Guy” Ryan from a policy standpoint, except The Wildman expectedly lost his candor and couldn’t stop from interrupting Ryan with laughter and snide comments like an arrogant high school honors senior facing down a new teacher. Old ladies everywhere probably thought Representative Ryan won due to his manners and love of hydration. But this all seems pretty standard in the flow of our political status quo. The calm got me thinking: What happens when disaster strikes?
A political “disaster” usually entails a gaffe or a poor debate performance. Think of an actual catastrophe. Temporary infrastructures need to be established. Rescue missions need to be organized. Evacuations need to happen rapidly, but in a civilized fashion. Katrina and Sept. 11 both come to mind. Both candidates would probably react to a terrorist attack on U.S. soil in quite similar fashion: overwhelming force. Obama would refuse to look weak after killing Osama bin Laden, and Romney would see the opportunity as a chance to “nation build” in order to open up new markets for U.S. trade. But the packs would react quite differently if a disaster struck which had no human being to blame.
Hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, droughts and blizzards are not myths of a time long ago. The earth is dynamic. These are its cycles. There is no Congress, nor past president, nor foreign enemy who can be called at fault for their existence. It is incredibly difficult to declare war on the environment — though we are doing our best to quickly improve on that front. Just for a moment, close your eyes and picture the sheer devastation of a category 5 hurricane that hits Miami or a volcanic eruption in the ocean that causes a tidal wave in New York. The damage would not only destroy those cities’ infrastructures and the economies, but also take human lives.
Gentlemen, cutting taxes won’t get you anywhere now. Nor will gilded rhetoric. Solving this problem will entail gaining international support for supplies and later investment, as well as mobilizing our National Guard and other relief organizations quickly while finding temporary and permanent housing for the newly homeless internally displaced persons. This is all technically a redistribution of wealth. How do you react when there is a bonfire under your ass?
Because the summer of fires and drought earlier this year in the Bread Basket caused a shortage in agricultural production, national food prices are up. Cattle farmers are using candy to feed their cows because of the lack of corn. What if next year brings even less rain? The aquifers in the region are nearly drained. Romney’s most likely plan is to send in Red Cross trucks full of bootstraps so people can simply pull themselves up.
Sixty seven percent of all Americans believe in climate change. Half of Republicans now believe in global warming. There are disagreements about its origin, but whether or not it is human−caused, we will need to adapt to it. Then again, this could be the perfect chance for Mitt Romney and his Bain Capital experience. He could just take all of the refugees and ship them overseas.
William Shira is a senior majoring in peace and justice studies. He can be reached at William.Shira@tufts.edu.