Once again, Oklahoma has been hit by a series of tornadoes, and flooding has ravaged a large chunk of the middle of our country. For the second time in 11 days, there have been fatalities. As sad as this is, it could have been much worse. Thanks to modern technology and NOAA, we’re able to predict severe weather ahead of time and warn people of disasters before they happen.
So why has the GOP repeatedly tried to slash spending for something as critical as NOAA or refused to fund something as common sense as storm shelters in schools? Why are they so insistent that it is not the job of the government to protect all citizens from tornadoes, hurricanes and other natural disasters? There are a few big reasons behind their madness.
First, they seem to believe any tax dollars that aren’t being spent to subsidize corporations and the defense industry are a waste. All the while, they have no problem taking the same tax dollars and getting some private sector company to provide these services, and often at an additional cost to us. They’ll gladly hand out tax breaks and subsidies to companies that are already making money hand over fist and likely contributing to our climate change problem, but when it comes to protecting citizens from real dangers — suddenly we have a debt issue, so there’s no money for that.
Second, there’s the Michele Bachmann-style insane belief that climate change is a liberal hoax meant to force us all into riding bikes or driving hybrid vehicles that don’t have room for gun racks. There’s so many of the fundamentalist Christian mindset who actually think that the world is just a few thousand years old, Jesus planted dinosaur bones to test their faith, and that any day now the world will end. These people who are influenced by money and/or a really screwed up version of Christianity aren’t going to do anything to address the issue of climate change, let alone doing something as common sense as funding public tornado warning systems or storm shelters in schools.
As I outlined in a previous article “Oklahoma Gives Massive Breaks to Oil Companies while Schools Lack Storm Shelters,” states like Oklahoma have the money to protect their citizens but are failing to do so in deference to protecting corporate tax breaks instead.
It’s a given that no matter what happens, we cannot guarantee 100% safety from “acts of God.” However, it’s sad, pathetic and inexcusable when we can prevent the deaths of any of our family, friends and neighbors through common sense safety measures, yet fail to do so. That’s not “patriotism” — it’s simply a chilling display of the greed and corruption of the Republican party.
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