Debate Magazine

Disasters and Disastrous Right Wing Revisionist History

Posted on the 30 August 2011 by Mikeb302000
Cross posted from; I'm sure that our more extreme 2nd Amendment crowd are convinced that we just need more guns for this too.
This week marks the sixth anniversary of the Bush-botched disaster that was Hurricane Katrina and the levee breaches which disrupted and nearly destroyed New Orleans for a time, with some 80% under water.  As of this date, the population of New Orleans is still 30% smaller than it was prior to those events; much remains destroyed and/or abandoned. 
In contrast to the recent Hurricane/Tropical storm Irene, which has done a great deal of damage, in New Orleans alone some 1600 people died from Katrina and the levee floods, with another 260 dead across seven Gulf states, most of them in Mississippi and Louisiana.  There are, in contrast, only some 40 deaths attributed so far to Irene, with extensive damage across seven eastern seaboard states.
In this context, we have one of the Texan candidates for the 2012 Presidential race, a recurring high-poller on the extreme right, coming out with an improbable statement that is typical of his variety of microscopically small government.  Between Bush, Ron Paul and Rick Perry, I'm beginning to wonder if Texans are not substantially crazy.

What Ron Paul appears to fail to remember about the 1900 disaster that affected Galveston, was this:
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Mass funeral pyres is a far cry from doing just fine.  While yes, more than a hundred years later Galveston has recovered, it does not make that disaster and recovery a desirable model to emulate.  Far from it, rather any time an area, a community, a state or a region is so devastated, the longer it takes for that geographic area to recover, the weaker we are as a country, the weaker and more devastated our economy; it is mistake not to appreciate that it harms all of us, either directly or indirectly.
Except that it isn't only Ron Paul making these Texas-crazy statements.  We have Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, one of the states devastated by Irene.  Romney is also now one of the crazy right wing candidates. 
I wonder how the people in Joplin, devestated by the tornado there, feel about the cuts to their funding so that the east coast could receive assistance for Irene?  In what world does that make any sense whatsoever?
A far better appreciation of how we are interconnected in our nation, in our society and civilization was this commentary from Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, another state affected by Irene.

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The right wing ideology of independence remembers history, or outright rewrites history in a not-factual way, to promote their positions.  It is a history that was never the way they describe, a history we have learned from, changed as a result for the better.  Those changes have made us stronger through the broad cooperation of our citizens, through the support of our government as the organizing, stabilizing entity.
The right would have us go backwards, by glamorizing and glorifying a false reality, a stupid reality that they would impose on our present.  They believe in a world that never was, by denying the facts of our history, by failing to be reality based.
If we revert to that fake past, our nation will be weaker, our individual citizens will be poorer, our economy will be devastated.  We do not dare to elect leaders who will take us down that dark road.  We need the light of history, of having learned from our mistakes, of having grown and improved our lives.
It is significant that Ron Paul DOES have Galveston in his congressional district; but to stop there would be to ignore the important details, the substance.  There was a major hurricane, Hurricane Ike, which struck Texas, including Galveston, in mid September 2008.  Ron Paul voted against disaster aid for his district in the months which followed.  In Texas, some 40 people died, the same approximate number as in Hurricane Irene across all states (so far), with another approximately 30 dead from the storm across other states from Ike.
In a recent interview on Fox News, Ron Paul took great pride in having been on the show some 28 times prior to that interview.  Ron Paul went to his home district after Ike, to Galveston which was among the hardest hit communities, exactly once, just long enough for a photo op with then President Bush.  He did not return to assist in any way with the storm recovery.  I believe that those actions speak louder than words about where Ron Paul's priorities lie, and in a larger context tells us a great deal about the conservatives on the right.
A state senator was quoted, after Ike:
State Rep. Craig Eiland of Galveston said, "I think his actions are irresponsible."
Fellow politicians on the ground aren't all that impressed.
Eiland asked, "If the whole Congress followed his lead, where would we be in the recovery?"
State  Rep. Eiland was correct; Ron Paul's position was irresponsible and IS irresponsible, Rick Perry's positions are irresponsible, Mitt Romney's positions are irresponsible, Michele Bachmann's positions are irresponsible, Eric Cantor's positions are irresponsible.  They do not work, they harm individuals, they do damage to our economy and to our country.  They are not patriotic, they are not true to our founding principles or the example of our founding fathers (and mothers).  They are wrong, they are bad, they are harmful and neglectful. Revisionist history is a lie.  Sometimes it is a lie of omission, sometimes a lie of commission, but it is a lie.
The right benefits only one constituency, the corporations - specifically the executives who profit disproportionately from their policies, and the very richest 1% of this country's people.  If you don't fit into either of those categories, you should be opposing the religious right, the conservatives, the GOP and the Tea Party.  Vote them out, or recall them even sooner if you have the opportunity.  They are not good for you and they are not good for this country.  They will ruin us all.
FEMA, and conscientious government, from Obama, and federal agencies, on down through cooperation with the states governments and governors, resulted in better response, better preparation to reduce damage so far as that was possible.  We have the choice of government doing what government should do, or not, to live in a cohesive and civilized society in the 21st century, rather than with the worst of the 19th century.

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