Politicians, Natural Disasters & Environmental gods!

That didn’t take long. With the number of dead and injured still uncertain following the devastating tornadoes that touched down in Oklahoma on Monday, Rhode Island Democrat Senator Sheldon Whitehouse took to the Senate floor to use this natural disaster, not to bring a word of consolation and comfort to grieving families, but to score political points.

Even though the dead included at least 20 elementary school children, that didn’t stop Sen. Whitehouse from trying to appease the god of climate change (can’t call it global warming anymore) by castigating Republicans for not blindly believing theories spouted by Al Gore and other environmental wackos. In his 15 minute speech, the Rhode Island Democrat said:

So, you may have a question for me,” Whitehouse said. “Why do you care? Why do you, Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, care if we Republicans run off the climate cliff like a bunch of proverbial lemmings and disgrace ourselves? I’ll tell you why. We’re stuck in this together. We are stuck in this together. When cyclones tear up Oklahoma and hurricanes swamp Alabama and wildfires scorch Texas, you come to us, the rest of the country, for billions of dollars to recover. And the damage that your polluters and deniers are doing doesn’t just hit Oklahoma and Alabama and Texas. It hits Rhode Island with floods and storms. It hits Oregon with acidified seas, it hits Montana with dying forests. So, like it or not, we’re in this together.”

Well, I’m not quite sure that I want to be “in this together” with the likes of Sheldon Whitehouse. I think I would rather live in an underground bunker with Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory than have to do anything with Sen. Whitehouse. I think Dr. Cooper would make more sense and show more humanity. And, that’s saying something.

Why is it that natural disasters have been co-opted by politicians for their own political gain? And, lest some think that only Democrats and liberals are guilty of this graceless and shameless behavior, there have been a fair share of Republicans and conservatives who have not shied away from using these heart-wrenching disasters — including God’s role in these acts — to advance their own political agendas. One such Republican was Michele Bachmann, who said on the campaign trail back in 2012:

“I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.”

Although many people misinterpreted Bachmann’s statement to mean that she thought that God used natural disasters (in this case, Hurricane Irene) to bring judgment upon America, I thought her words about “God’s judgment” were actually quite tame:

As pronouncement of God’s judgment kind of statements are concerned, this one is relatively innocuous.  She did not say that God was behind these recent events.  The Congresswoman did not talk about God’s judgment upon America (usually Pat Robertson or John Hagee are good for that).  Instead, she simply wondered how much it would take for God to get the attention of politicians.  Fairly tame stuff, if you ask me.

However, what bothers me more than the first part of her statement is the last part.  It appears that she merely uses God and His attempts to get politicians to listen to Him through natural disasters as a nice launching pad for talking about politicians listening to the American people.  If one were to truly stop and analyze what Ms. Bachmann was saying, she seems more concerned not about politicians listening to God, but rather that the politicians listen to the American people.  There is a tremendous disconnect in this whole statement.  To give her the benefit of the doubt, Congresswoman Bachmann probably did not even realize what she was saying and the implications of her statement.

That’s what’s so frustrating about politicians, especially those who are running for high office.  When it suits their purposes, candidates will play the “God card.”  They know that certain groups will respond favorably to a message when God language is interspersed throughout the speech. (emphasis added)

Congresswoman Bachmann seemed quite comfortable playing the “God card” in her vain attempt at capturing the Republican Presidential nomination. She clearly understood that certain groups — Evangelical Christians among them — would be impressed with her message and support her campaign.  Yesterday, Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat Senator from Rhode Island, was clearly comfortable in using the environmental “god card” to play to a particular audience. It’s just so sad to think that he played the card within hours — not days or weeks — of when countless children were deprived of their ability to ever play again!

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