In a Hurricane, Everyone’s a Socialist

September 08, 2017 By: El Jefe Category: flooding, Government

I’m sitting here watching the FEMA morning briefing on Hurricane Irma with Grinning Tom Price and director Brock Long while they are speaking of 8,000 FEMA employees advance deployed and commodities (food, water, medicine) staged from Florida to North Carolina.  They’re speaking of evacuating electricity dependent medical patients, evacuation routes, and other issues that professionals discuss preparing for landfall of major hurricane.

Over the last several weeks, elected officials in Texas and Florida have actually conducted themselves as adults, taking responsibility and using their authority (and government coffers) to serve their constituents.  The weakest person I’ve seen is Greg Abbott who has played a very small role compared to Houston mayor Sylvester Turner and Harris Country judge Ed Emmett, staying pretty much in the background, showing up only to suck up to Cheeto Jesus while he grandstanded during his two brief and embarrassing appearances here in Texas.

Speaking of embarrassing, Donald Trump. His performance during his cringe-inducing visits (accompanied by his wife impersonating Michael Jackson in those silly caps and shades) were nothing short of embarrassing.  Thank God he left to go play golf immediately after instructing shelter victims to “have a great time”.

I digress – what’s really struck me during these events is how Trump administration appointments and elected officials are bringing the force of government to bear to serve its residents.  Trump has already proposed, and the Congress is virtually certain to approve, an initial $8 billion relief appropriation.  Local, state, and federal officials are working together to save lives and shelter victims of the recent storms.  FEMA has been on the ground in Houston since initial rains started and is processing over 300,000 funding applications already filed.

The difference between these responses and the disaster during Katrina 12 years ago is striking; today government is being proactive rather than passive as it was during that crisis where local, state, and federal governments were simply incompetent and totally unprepared.  The current response is strikingly different – in general, politics have been set aside by elected officials to get help to Americans.  There’s none of the nonsense about “compassionate conservatism” which created the shameful Katrina response.  It looks to me that government is pretty much working as it should – for the good of society.

The collective power of people working together using the resources available to soften the blow of catastrophes like Harvey and Irma is how advanced societies are supposed to function.  Government money and resources help; individual citizens volunteering is key; law enforcement and firefighting agencies must galvanize to serve.  In short, this is how it’s supposed to work.  Libertarian ideology goes out the window because it simply doesn’t work.  Radical right wing ideology goes with it because no person is an island.  In short, during crisis, everyone is a socialist working for the collective good.  That’s how society is supposed to work.