I believe the Gulf disaster defies analogy.
But we need to pigeon hole this one for the 24 hour news re-cycle. Hmmm. Hurricane Katrina. Yeah, that’s it! Let’s exploit another episode of human suffering for the sake of ratings. That’s why the media asks, “Is this Obama’s Hurricane Katrina?”. Because that was the most recent large scale disaster. We can’t remember back almost 10 years to ask if this is “Obama’s 9/11”.
And it feeds our need, in a situation out of control, for symmetry with past events so we can pretend to understand the event and its ramifications and then go back to watching Britney Spears. The pathology of fear symmetry.
Let’s not make this about President Obama, although it would make it easier if it were. It is about greed and reckless indifference to our earth. It is about a problem of unimaginable scope causing imponderable calamity for all living beings.
We elected President Obama because he is unflappable, at least in public. Now, we are pissed because he doesn’t express constant outrage to satisfy CNN, FOX, and MSNBC and our own fear symmetry pathology.
Everyone, listen up:
Rule 1 of disaster reaction: If the only people with the machinery to solve the problem are the ones who caused the problem, don’t piss them off. If you make it so they can never get out from under the liability, they will take their marbles and go home and then all is lost. Sometimes it feels good to yell at a given moment, but it hurts you in the long run (ever hear the old saw, “don’t cut off your nose to spite your face”?).
Rule 2 of disaster reaction: There is no easy resolution to this problem because no one prepared for this disaster. Not BP and not the United States. Preparation would have required years of research and development by top scientists and hundreds of millions of dollars. So, blame Reagan, Bush I, Clinton and Bush II. Even throw Carter, Ford and Nixon under that bus while you’re at it.
Rule 3 of disaster reaction: Everyone wastes time pointing figures at others. And take out the mirror. All of us. We are the problem, too. Consume too much? Vote for the Drill, Baby, Drill ticket?
Rule 4 of disaster reaction: DON’T TELL THE PUBLIC THE TRUTH. WE CANNOT HANDLE THE TRUTH (Jack Nicholson was right in “A Few Good Men”). We also expect that everything will get fixed for us, preferably within a day’s trading session at the New York Stock Exchange.
Rule 5 of disaster reaction: The media feeds our ridiculous expectations and our hubris. So, Anderson Cooper, Glenn Beck, Bill O’Reilly, Keith Olbermann, Maureen Dowd, Jack Cafferty, Wolf Blitzer and whoever else: stop with the comparisons and come up with ways to heal our earth, ways to help our fellow Americans, our wildlife, etc. Set up a disaster relief fund.
Reality No. 1 of Disasters: The man in charge — President Obama — wanted this gusher plugged the minute it happened. You think he wants to go down as the president who screwed up this disaster response?
Reality No. 2 of Disasters: Everyone is an armchair quarterback. If you can help, then help. If you can’t, then shut up.
Reality No. 3 of Disasters: If there weren’t a disaster, the media would create one. So, for the 45th President of the United States of America, what will be your Gulf Oil Spill Disaster?