Thursday, November 1, 2012

The REAL Reason Behind Romney's Fake Donation Drive

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, most political junkies are no doubt being bombarded with the videos of Romney putting on his Emergency Donation Drive while ignoring repeated questions shouted out to him regarding his feelings towards FEMA. Having called FEMA both "immoral" and "an abomination" (or is that 'Obamination'?), reporters were obviously eager to see what he had to say about the relief organization as it was currently attending to needy hurricane victims up and down the East Coast. If you missed it, here it is again. Try not to giggle too much.

Other info regarding this shameful exploitation photo-op has been so numerous, it's hard to pick a favorite. Whether it's the campaign purchasing supplies and displaying them as donated goods in case donation turnout was low, people only being allowed to greet Romney if they had donations to give him while shaking his hand (to the point of allowing some to hand over already donated items as they met him), only directing donated good to swing states on the East Coast, or the fact that both The Red Cross and FEMA both specifically state on their sites that donated goods are far less effective to them than cash donations, there's definitely something for everybody to harp on.

What's missing, however, is what this photo-op was meant to do in the first place. Of course, the fact that it failed so miserably means that we will never hear the message that was meant to follow the performance of this ill-conceived Saturday Afternoon Special. However, sometimes the intention is just as important as the result, so it's a little disheartening that most of the news outlets are dropping the ball on this one.

Federal Emergency Management Agency
Federal Emergency Management Agency (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Whenever "Small Government" Republicans rally against the evils of government spending to help society's needy, they always double-back and cover their Christian Idealism tracks with the claim that charity is of course a good thing, but that this Charity should come from the churches and community, not inefficient government programs. Romney's display of community charity flopped while those inefficient government programs were saving lives and assisting in recovering from the wreckage, so they'll never get a chance to use this as the selling point that they hoped it would be, but this photo-op was not meant as a promotional for Team Romney's Disaster Relief as much as it was supposed to be a clear demonstration of how mobilized community charity can fill the shoes of organizations like FEMA.

The lesson learned from this sad demonstration is just as damaging as the teenage birth rates from states with abstinence-only sex education. Community and religious organized charity (which the Republicans always assume are one in the same, by the way) are welcomes and needed, but lack the ability to match even a fraction of the ability our government has to mobilize rescue and relief crews during a national emergency, weather related or otherwise. This, and it scares me that I need to actually spell this out for some people, is what our government is supposed to do; protect its citizens from threats both foreign and domestic. The Right was so successful in selling the Terrorism threat as the new Red Scare that they've managed to convince a lot of people that the domestic part of that protection only refers to crime and terrorism, and not the other disasters that can befall this countries people.

It is under this confusion of what the government is meant to protect us from that the Republicans try to convince us that FEMA, welfare, healthcare, firefighters, law enforcement, and a host of other programs meant to protect American citizens from tragedy and despair are not actually the job of the government, but of the citizens themselves. Or more specifically, the corporations that will eagerly privatize these organizations the moment Republicans open the door for them. because when you're faced with a disaster and need rescuing or support, what you really want is a for-profit organization deciding whether or not saving you is beneficial to their fiscal budget. Which, coincidentally, is what Republicans like Romney have been gleefully demanding that the government do; check the pocketbook, and don't respond until you're sure that rescue and relief will come in under budget. Fools rush in, after all.

So yes, Romney's little Donation Drive was a laughing stock. But it's the policies behind the photo-op that we should be laughing at, and loudly enough so everybody hears us.
Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment