In 2005, when Hurricane Katrina smashed through the New Orleans’ levees and killed over 1,800 inhabitants, certain right-wing religious types were heard to mutter that it was a punishment from God for the sins of that Louisiana city.
Exactly seven years later, as Tropical Storm Isaac creates havoc in Tampa, Florida, setting back the Republican Convention by a day, no-one is suggesting it might be the Divinity registering a complaint, about the policies of an ultra-right-wing political group determined to bolster the fortunes of the rich, at the expense of the poor.
But, that’s American politics for you. The Republican Party contains among its members individuals capable of making such inane statements, but only when its politically advantageous to do so.
If ever there were a positive side to Tropical Storm Isaac, it must be in saving us one day of convention tedium in a presidential election year that is surely about to break records as the most boring, yawn-inducing, electoral period in all of US history.
There’s been nothing said by either side that hasn’t been espoused a thousand times in previous elections; not even an original insult. And insults are the order of the day…the week…the month. Surely, the purpose of voting for the next president of the United States is more than a decision as to which candidate is the least childish? But, perhaps, that’s an insult to children everywhere. At least, those over the age of five.
There’s a certain obvious immaturity in the American psyche, so maybe they just get who they deserve. Take the attitude toward guns, for example. Very few US citizens would vote for anyone who threatened to curtail their access to these toys. And, yes, they are toys. No-one in their right mind would use a gun to shoot anyone. But, then, there do seem to be quite a few Americans who aren’t in their right mind, judging by the daily reports of gun killings on US streets.
The US Constitution allows citizens to own guns for the purpose of forming a ‘militia’ – in case the government turns nasty and doesn’t treat them right. Unfortunately, the government today owns every weapon known to man, including a nuclear arsenal, against which the weaponry of the farmer from Iowa, or the rancher from Colorado, would be as useless as a peashooter.
Perhaps the government should take away their guns and hand out pea-shooters instead? No, that would be way too mature. And the US media would have far less stories to fill their half-hour news slots.
Somehow, a crazed lunatic loose in a cinema with half a dozen peashooters and a bag of dried peas is less likely to raise the nation to an emotional peak of ire and grief. To create that effect one needs to throw in the odd AK47.
This election, like all previous US elections, is not going to be about guns. The media informs us the average voter’s main concern is the economy, or lack of it. Or, to put it another way, the average American is scared. And with good reason. When an economy tanks, so do jobs. Without jobs there’s no security. Without security, there’s fear.
Unfortunately, when people in America are afraid, they buy more guns.
Americans would have less reason to be insecure if there were a social safety-net to catch them when they fall out of work. It works well in most other countries. The only drawback – the rich and powerful have to pay for it. But, why shouldn’t they? After all, it’s the rich and powerful who take the jobs away from working Americans when the economy tanks.
No, this election will not be about gun control, or badly needed social reform. Neither will it be about jobs, or the economy, though both candidates will work hard to kid their supporters into believing it is.
This presidential election is about nothing more than prestige – the lifelong ambition of well-to-do families intent on shoe-horning one of their own into the White House.
In reality, nothing changes. For isn’t the prestige of the wealthy what virtually every US presidential election has been about? After all, of the forty-four presidents to date only nine weren’t millionaires, and the first one, George Washington, was the wealthiest of them all.
So, we’ll continue to yawn our way through to the first week of November, in the surety that little will change, whoever wins.
Meanwhile, God Jehovah, content with His warning shot across the bows of the good ship Republican, is once more at the helm of a Gulf hurricane heading straight for that debauched, lecherous, and irreligious city of New Orleans.
There’s not much doubt who He’ll be voting for, come November 6th.
 “Money and Power: The Richest and Poorest U.S. Presidents” DailyFinance, February 17th 2012