Thursday, May 12, 2011

Disaster Politics

Unsurprisingly, there are a few individuals (mostly website comment trolls) who consider themselves on "the left," who are taking the opportunity of the Tornado disasters and Mississippi River flooding to oversimplify the political beliefs of Southerners and write us all off as Tea Partiers demanding smaller government. By virtue of our assumed collective hatred for TEH SOCIALIZMS of disaster recovery, they think we should live our values now and not ask for any Federal aid. Viewing the South through such a lens, they then descend into "blame the victim" territory so ably applied by their political rivals.

Beyond the fact that their finger-wagging is an absolute failure of narrative building (at which they simply are not prepared to compete with the right), they end up running into other folks on "the left" who despise the concepts of collective blame, political marketing, and false equivalence.

Folks with more crediblity are ready to stop them in their tracks:

Hating on the South in the comments for voting Republican will get you banned, permanently. I'm in no mood.


Thanks for that.

It also got me thinking. Most importantly, disasters don't check your voter registration before they come crashing through the door. Anyone, anywhere. There but for the Grace of God go I.

But there are apparently plenty of folks who do concern themselves with the voting patterns of Southerners as it relates to the current state of disaster. Not that it should matter, but look at this map alongside the one of where flooding is the worst. Look at the 2008 election returns in Tuscaloosa and Jefferson Counties in Alabama.

Which way did the disaster victims vote, again? And, again, why does it matter?

I hesitate to bring that up. The chorus of "why do you live by a river" is already warming up in the national narrative, and I'm sure there are plenty of right wing elements who are going to use the "handouts" to flood victims and anecdotes of government ineffectiveness in their own states in order to raise some political capital for the next election. I'd expect the same demagougery from Democratic or "liberal" elements as well. Same as it ever was.

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