Remember when that fertilizer plant exploded in “We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Federal Gubmint” Texas under the watchful gaze of then Governor Rick Perry (R)? Remember when Hurricane Sandy barreled down on New Jersey, a state run by a climate change denying Republican by the name of Christ Christie? How about the story of contaminated drinking water in Michigan, which also has a Republican governor, surely you’ve heard of that story, correct?
What all these stories have in common is that they are disasters that happened in states run by Republican governors that all needed to run to the federal government for help when tragedy struck. Don’t misread the tone here — FEMA is in place precisely for these situations and I can’t be the only one in the country who doesn’t mind being taxed a few pennies every year to make sure they can handle whatever is thrown at them. With climate change making the storms our infrastructure has to rebound from even more intense, FEMA will be even more important in the coming years, to be sure.
The point I’m making in pointing out that West, Texas, Hurricane Sandy, and now Flint’s leaden water are all run by Republicans who went to the feds for help is that it blatantly flies in the face of the right-wing’s blustery, anti-government rhetoric. It proves that while despite the axiom, there are indeed atheists in fox holes, there aren’t many no-government types in the Republican Party when the shit really, truly, actually hits the fan. And why would there be? There is something truly genius about a system of government that by and large lets the smaller nation states handle the bulk of the day to day government work, but that have a strong federal government to fill in the gaps that will naturally be created based on the limited resources any one state can draw from.
Isn’t it time then, as we watch the feds attempt to ride to ride to Rick Snyder’s rescue in Michigan, for the Republicans to retire they’re anti-government bullshit? Every single time one of them has to go crawling on their knees to FEMA asking for money when a tornado levels six towns, or some other so-called “Act of God” strikes, it lessens the meaning of the rhetoric. At least it does with people who aren’t trapped in the conservative media bubble that keeps things like Benghazi relevant and climate change a hoax.
Michael Moore has called for Governor Snyder to be arrested. Given what we know at this point, that Snyder and his staff knew about the lead contamination in Flint’s water for months before acting on it, that seems like a pretty reasonable request. But even if not, even if we decide not to arrest government officials when their rhetoric makes them do things that cause real world, actual damage to the people they’re supposed to serve, surely this latest dalliance of a Republican into Stupid Town should cost them what little credibility their “small government” stance still had left.
The truth of course is that they aren’t in favor of small government. They’re in favor of government that protects them, the status quo, and their power network. Nothing else really enters the equation, and all the proof you need of it is the fact that conservative Republicans still want to reverse Roe vs. Wade and strike gay marriage down again. Because to them, government should be just small enough to climb inside your urethra, but certainly not non-existent.
This piece was cross-posted at The Political Garbage Chute.