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Random Thoughts on Brookings, Harvey and “Thoughts and Prayers”

Wow, it’s almost done. This, dear reader is the penultimate day of my “Thing a day” challenge for August. Tomorrow, I’ll post a status report on how the month went, and discuss what I’ll be doing for September. For today, my mind is kind of a jumble of ideas, so I think I’ll work on a few ideas in short form and see how it turns out. I imagine none of this will fit together in a particularly useful way.

For starters, the Chetco Bar fire still rages a few miles north of me. This wildfire has been a problem in the region since July 12th. We’ve had evacuations, lots of lost homes, and as recently as last weekend, the city of Brookings, OR was threatened. I’m happy to report that the last couple of days we’ve had cooler weather, better visibility and the firefighters have been able to deploy the big airborne bucket drops. The firelines seem to be holding now, and we’re all hoping the cool weather holds a bit so they can get this thing contained.

Still, watching the national news, I see this story completely ignored. I’m not sure why that is, other than Harvey is a lot sexier. I guess there’s more people affected in Texas, so there’s a greater potential for bigger stories, but it makes me stop to think.

I think Hurricane Harvey was supposed to be Trump’s Katrina. I can almost see CNN and the rest of the media licking their lips at the prospect. I don’t want to get political, but that’s how I see it. Unfortunately for those that don’t like Trump, he’s beaten them at their own game. The fact that Harvey hit Texas, a state that’s more than capable of handling adversity, didn’t work in their favor. All Texas has to do is be Texas.

One of the things that has driven me crazy for as long as I can remember is the unwritten requirement that the President visit disaster areas. What the hell is that about? You have a catastrophe, everyone’s busy as hell, first responders are working to the point of exhaustion, and the most important thing we can do is send the leader of the free world there to divert resources to photo ops. When POTUS goes somewhere, it’s not just a matter of finding a place to land Air Force One. You have to have cops to do motorcades, the Governor’s got to take time out to meet with him, and all the other nonsense that goes on with a visit like that.

Meanwhile, the President would have served the people just as well, probably better, with a conference call. What, do we really think the Secret Service is going to let their charge go out and place sandbags, or fly a helicopter rescuing survivors? But, if POTUS doesn’t go, hoo boy, you’d think he caused the disaster himself.

It’s ridiculous. Please, can we all just agree that an active emergency is no place for politicians?

Another thing that drives me nuts is the requirement for statements that our “thoughts and prayers” are with the affected people. Like, that’s all you need to do. Think about and pray for them. Seriously? I’m a firm believer in the power of prayer, but I’ll be the first to tell you that’s an easy way out. Faith only works when you do what you can. After you’ve done that, then you can call on God for help. He’s not your butler.

And, for the “thoughts” part of the statement, I call bullshit. Wishing is for birthday cakes. In my half century on this planet, I’ve yet to see a wildfire or hurricane respond to positive thoughts.

If you actually care, do something.


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