Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Who You Gonna Call?

West Virginia is most prominently known this year for anti-regulation and anti-government politics, and--enslaved to predatory coal companies--for climate crisis denying.

But experiencing an unprecedented onslaught of rain and flash flooding--the kind of extreme weather global heating science predicts--West Virginia is in need, and suddenly dependent on...government.  Specifically the federal government, via President Obama's declaration of a major disaster:

"This federal support will provide much needed assistance to severely-impacted regions," West Virginia's governor Earl Ray Tomblin said in a statement. "As emergency response efforts continue, with members of the National Guard and local emergency responders hard at work helping our neighbors, we will continue pursuing additional assistance for all affected areas."

This comes after FEMA officials toured some of the most impacted areas on foot and by air on Saturday.

It's easy enough to fulminate against easy targets of bureaucratic screwups, or of ego-bloated, doubletalking politicians.  And very appealing to say to people that they should keep their money because government is the problem, so starve it of taxes.

But then something big happens, and people depend on government to bring the resources, the expertise, the humanpower, quickly and effectively.  Just as they depend on government to ensure their food isn't poisonous, or their drinking water.  Or that there is a public health system with the resources and expertise to deal with big problems, maybe several at a time, and even be ahead of the curve.

But thanks to the anti-government fulminators, all of these are now political.  Even the funding to confront the dangerous Zika virus is mired in politics--Congress can't just vote the funds necessary, Republicans must blackmail the President with the nation's health to get partisan legislation that can't get otherwise.

But when you've got catastrophe and you need help, who you gonna call?  It ain't Ghostbusters.  And it sure ain't Republicans in Congress.

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