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Editorial: Joplin, Irene and Fema-A love triangle
This past weekend Hurricane Irene rocked the East Coast, leaving millions without power and forcing mass evacuation out of New York City. By the time the storm hit, Irene had lost much of her projected wrath, a fact The Journal is quite thankful for.
But of course, as we are rapidly approaching an election, not even natural disasters can be spared from political spin. It seems it took no time at all for two critical power plays to be made by politicians. The first just rubs The Journal, as a Missouri school, the wrong way.
On Monday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced it would take funds promised to aid Joplin, which was hit with a deadly tornado in May killing 160 people, to focus on immediate relief for victims of Hurricane Irene. FEMA also took millions set aside for towns in Alabama hit by a massive storm that destroyed four public schools and killed more than 200 people.
In no means does The Journal seek to qualify or compare the devastation of Hurricane Irene and these deadly summer tornadoes. Any destructive storm is a tragedy and the government should offer the same aid to victims of Irene as was offered to Missourians in need this past summer.
But, after the terrible ordeal Joplin went through, it is unacceptable for FEMA to take away the money they have promised. The Journal wonders if this decision was not a political move, intended to win support of East Coast states considered to have more clout in American politics than Missouri. The Midwest may not be as glamorous or full of large companies with billionaire CEOs, but we deserve the same government courtesy as New York or any other states.
The second political move brings more laughter than concern to The Journal. Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann addressed a crowd in Florida Sunday, saying that Hurricane Irene was a message from God, warning politicians in Washington to change their “morbid obesity diet” of social program spending and promoting moral laxity.
While this is not the first time Bachmann has alluded she has a direct line to the “big man upstairs,” it is inappropriate and, frankly, just tacky to prey on thousands of people with damaged property and unpleasant storm experiences to further your own presidential campaign. We expect these sorts of wild accusations from Glenn Beck, but hoped that a serious political candidate would have better taste.
The Journal has a thought for Bachmann and any other politicians who put their own agendas before citizens directly affected by natural disasters—maybe hurricanes and tornadoes are God’s way of allowing you to show your ignorance and inability to handle our country, so that in this upcoming election we can elect more rational and capable individuals.