Anyone who believes this country is — and always has been — great had their confidence reinforced by the climate-changing events that have destroyed so many lives and so much property in the past two weeks.
It is not the death and destruction that makes us great, of course. It is the way this country responded to provide help and aid wherever needed to the best of our ability.
Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert’s is a name you should remember. While I assumed the Environmental Protection Agency would have been in charge of the disaster relief, it is Bossert and his department’s Federal Emergency Management Agency who gives credibility and intelligence to it.
Bossert is intelligent, articulate and extremely knowledgeable (unique in the administration of 45). He focuses like a laser on what has happened and what this country is doing about it.
He does not puff himself up, does not exaggerate and does not attack people or institutions, but just gives you straightforward facts. When he doesn’t know, he says so … and promises to obtain the answer and get back with it.
He does not attack the press and does not demean or insult those who ask the questions. It is just beyond my wildest expectations that there is a spokesperson in today’s White House whom I admire.
It was Bossert who first announced the advance placement of responders. It was he who talked about the planning that went into stockpiling equipment for use in the disaster and who coordinated efforts with the military to provide disaster relief. He did so in a direct, easy-to-understand fashion without the grandstanding gibberish that other White House spokesmen have utilized.
This man is as good as it gets on the national stage.
I listened in awe as he discussed moving an aircraft carrier, landing craft and personnel into the area to assist in the Florida disaster as well as the other island calamities. He explained that both the carrier and landing crafts carried helicopters to assist in rescue and supply operations. The media showed the around-the-clock efforts of the military and Coast Guard while risking their own lives.
It was Bossert who carefully explained that convoys of gas trucks are headed to Florida and the outlying islands, along with security provided to the drivers to assure their safe destination and arrival.
He also described severe problems with infrastructure. Bridges and roadways have been damaged or destroyed. Power lines and backup sources of electricity — gone. Generators are needed to provide minimum power. No drinkable water supply! Gas supplies are nearly gone; even where they exist, there’s little power to run the pumps. Without power, there’s no air conditioning, no television, few means of communication and hell to pay if, right now, you have a medical or other kind of personal emergency.
I could go on for pages describing the horror of it all … and the great feeling I get when I see Americans, all of them, rallying to help their countrymen in need. Politics be damned! This is the America I know, responding the way I knew it could. In helping others, there’s no R or D or I. It’s all the American way!
Originally I thought the EPA would be the lead agency. Not so — and the reasons are the opposite of the goodness the disaster response demonstrates.
Virtually all scientists acknowledge the science behind the theory of climate change. Yet there are those who refuse to listen to them. You don’t have to hit me over the head with a mallet to get my attention on this issue: Climate change is clearly and definitely real. Yet the deniers in government, from 45 on up, are doing their best to kill education and discussion on the subject.
The mission of the EPA is to protect human health and the environment. Yet look what has happened. Mustafa Ali, head of the agency’s environmental justice program, resigned, citing gigantic budget cuts to the agency and its staff. Elizabeth Southerland, director of science and technology in the Office of Water, resigned after 40 years, citing the “temporary triumph of myth over truth.” She made clear that, contrary to new Director Scott Pruitt, there is no war on coal. There is no economic crisis caused by environmental protection, and climate change is caused by the activity of man.
The EPA’s own regulations require websites on climate change; yet Pruitt has ordered those sites taken down. Never mind that before he obtained his current position, Pruitt was known for his lawsuits against EPA. Guess who profits by his actions? Both he and 45. Rick Perry, energy secretary — though a nice, funny man -— couldn’t find his way to the bathroom without an aid. Perry is in lockstep with Pruitt on this.
My best guess is that 45 and his minions, after considering the nature of the current multiple disasters, will rethink their ill-informed rejection of climate change and learn that it is real — that man contributes to it, and only man can slow it down.
The Chinese, of all people, in a land where pollution abounds, have signed the Paris Accords. They pledge to continue their all-out efforts on pollution control. We’ve become one of only three nations on Earth to refuse to sign.
For those who don’t believe in climate change and that man can do something about it, answer this question: If the air is polluted from automobiles and factories — and when we clean up the autos and factories, the air becomes clean again — is that, or is that not, a manmade disaster and a man-engineered correction?
These hurricane disasters are ongoing. It will take much time to rebuild lives and property. As to property, I hope new building codes will restrict where and how lost structures are rebuilt. I also hope we finally hear an admission that climate change is real. Funding should be restored to the EPA, as well as other environmental agencies and programs that have been decimated because 45 can’t stand anything that Obama touched. That’s sad. We are all Americans. What is good for most should be good for all.
God bless this country and all of its inhabitants. Amen.