You Say Want a Revolution?

The unspeakable tragedy and human suffering of the “one in a thousand years” floods and devastating winds of Hurricane Ian once again puts the relationship between the states and federal government in perspective. And once again, it is the South, home to the so-called “confederates” who continue to disparage the Union, that has its hands out for billions in disaster relief funds.

Maybe, just maybe, those howling for insurrection from Mar-a-Lago might want to consider where they’d be without the federal government they love to hate.

Suddenly, the vicious snarling of Florida’s radical right-wing governor Ron DeSantis has been subsumed by the reality that the little dictatorship he’s trying to build cannot deal with the level of death, displacement and destruction wrought by the latest “superstorm.” Suddenly, all his blather denying the climate crisis is proven false as the warming ocean feeds disastrous storms, ravaging the state he pretends to lead independent of the federal government and our Constitution.

But of course Florida and DeSantis aren’t alone in their delusions of grandeur and active resistance against a government that, at its core, is pledged to provide the “greatest good for the greatest number.”

Take Louisiana and it’s oil and gas cartel. The state’s politicians, being in thrall to the fossil fuel industry, have fought every attempt to transition the nation to clean, renewable, non-carbon energy. Why? The simplest of reasons —they’re making billions hand over fist by drilling, refining, selling and exporting the nation’s fossil fuels. And they are such greedy profiteers President Biden has already had to warn them about trying to use the hurricane as an excuse to once-again “gouge” the public with artificially-inflated prices.

Or how about good old Joe Manchin and his “coal state” stance that’s led to his outrageous hostage-taking of much needed legislation in the Senate? If we want to give our people — all our people — the help they need, as with the last infrastructure bill, he demands we also eliminate the prudent consideration of potential and likely environmental impacts from fossil fuel projects.

Even worse, in his “vote trading” scheme he demanded that if any solar or wind projects are built on federal land an equal amount of acres must be leased for fossil fuel development.

Then there’s Texas — you know, the state you don’t want to “mess with.” The state whose deregulated “Goldilocks” energy infrastructure is so unreliable it can’t function if it’s too hot or too cold.

Again, they have a radical right-wing governor claiming states’ rights and independence from the federal government and the Constitution — well, until the lights go out, the streets flood, and their people are left desperate for help.

Then, old Uncle Sam doesn’t seem so bad as the billions of federal relief dollars roll in — much of it generated by the “coastal elites” so constantly disparaged by the “independent” Texans.

Say what you want about Joe Biden, but his long experience in national policy is serving these Southern ingrates well in their time of great need. Unlike his predecessor, who threatened to withhold federal coronavirus relief funds from “blue states,” Biden doesn’t run the presidency like a mob boss, but fulfills his role as the nation’s leader to serve all the people, regardless of political affiliation.

There’s great wisdom in “united we stand, divided we fall.” As once again illustrated by the ravages of ever-more-powerful superstorms, it’s long past time that these insurrectionists and rebel politicians realize they’d be absolutely toast without the aid of the federal government — and start acting like part of the Union, not the foolish and failed revolutionaries they pretend to be.

George Ochenski is a columnist for the Missoulian, where this essay originally appeared.