Hurricane Harvey and Trump’s Treachery

You can’t have limited government when there’s unlimited flooding.

Surely, among the many residents of Texas and Louisiana impacted by Hurricane Harvey are Republicans who voted for Donald Trump because they wanted to “get the federal government out of their lives,” and because they didn’t want “liberal tree-hugging central-planning do-gooders” making decisions in Washington. Of course, those “liberal tree-hugging central-planning do-gooders” just wanted to prevent Americans from drowning.

“Limited-government conservatism” should have been the first casualty of Hurricane Katrina a dozen years ago. A compassionate and forward-thinking federal government would not have left nearly 1,800 American citizens to die. Help would have been at the ready. If Al Gore or John Kerry had been President when Katrina hit, so many lives would have been spared. Of course, there was nothing compassionate about George W. Bush’s conservatism: those who died in New Orleans were killed by both ideology and inundation.

Elections have consequences–fatal consequences, as we will surely learn again after Trump’s inevitably botched response to this disaster. It’s unlikely that he has any real plan to deal with this storm–not a surprise, considering the fact that Trump denies the very science that explains why these storms are so powerful.

Speaking of science deniers, if EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt had a shred of integrity in his overfed, overwrinkled body, he’d resign right now in the wake of this storm. His barbaric assault on the very laws and policies intended to limit the worst impacts of human-caused climate change will constitute a death sentence for future generations. He is perhaps the most disreputable member of this sick excuse of an administration (especially now that Sebastian Gorka is gone), a man whose name will be mentioned in years to come as an epithet.

If Charlottesville couldn’t wake Trump voters from their stupor, Harvey won’t either. They’ll still worship him even as he wounds them, rejoicing in his ban on transgender troops, applauding his pardon of Joe Arpaio. Even as the waters rise above their homes and their heads, they’ll still deny realities both political and scientific. They’re that gullible.

A dozen years ago, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was rhetorically assaulted by the right for connecting the dots between George W. Bush’s egregious energy policies and Hurricane Katrina. Back then, Kennedy observed:

Well, the science is clear. This month, a study published in the journal Nature by a renowned MIT climatologist linked the increasing prevalence of destructive hurricanes to human-induced global warming.

Now we are all learning what it’s like to reap the whirlwind of fossil fuel dependence which [Bush administration officials] have encouraged. Our destructive addiction has given us a catastrophic war in the Middle East and—now—Katrina is giving our nation a glimpse of the climate chaos we are bequeathing our children.

Three years after Katrina, climate scientist James Hansen declared that those who have failed to take steps to curb carbon pollution are “guilty of crimes against humanity and nature.” The actions of Trump and Pruitt on climate are arguably the crime of the century–the theft of a livable future from future generations, the assault on our atmosphere.

Where are the Republican mothers? Don’t they see what Trump’s actions are doing to their children, and our children? Don’t they realize the living hell their offspring will face thanks to the carbon pollution Trump and Pruitt are unleashing? Or are they too brainwashed to care, viewing this storm as either some natural cycle or God’s will?

It was man’s will to burn as much fossil fuel as possible in the name of raw greed that gave us this abused atmosphere, this contaminated climate. It is a crime against humanity–organized crime, brought to us by, among others, Don Trump and his consigliere Pruitt, who swore a blood oath to Big Oil, and took out a contract on the Earth.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.