Bad People

My friend works at the hospital in Springfield. Last week, CNN was on in the exam room where he was taking a patient’s blood: Houston highways turned to rivers, survivors wading through the streets clutching dogs and babies.

“Those poor people,” he said, as the bag filled with blood. The middle aged white woman muttered under her breath.

“Say what?”

“Bad people.” This time he was sure he heard right. “God is punishing them.”

“All those people? Thousands of people?”

The woman remained unmoved.

“They’re bad people,” she said.

 

The day before Oaxaca was struck by a 8.2 earthquake, the city received its first visit from Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Between aftershocks, friends joked darkly on Facebook that the very earth rejected the presence of the Pretty-Boy-in-Chief, who enjoys such popularity in the economically marginalized region that he had to bring along 500 federal troops to protect him from angry constituents, who still managed to bring down one of his helicopters with a well-aimed firecracker.

The same people who blame lesbians for Hurricane Harvey, and President Obama for the solar eclipse (if only they had that kind of power!) are the first to call climate change a hoax

Humans have always made up stories to explain what we cannot understand or control, some more convincing than others. Divine retribution has always been a popular narrative, especially when the retribution is against a person or group of persons who we dislike or with whom we disagree. It also allows us the smug solace that we will be spared from natural disaster if only we adhere to the rules of our chosen ideology, be it the Southern Baptist Convention or The Secret.

If ever there were a moment in human history in which it were rational to blame humans for natural phenomenon, it would be now, if 99% of scientists are to believed.

But the same people who blame lesbians for Hurricane Harvey, and President Obama for the solar eclipse (if only they had that kind of power!) are the first to call climate change a hoax.  Jim Bakker, Pat Robertson, Rick Joyner, these are the bad people, not the victims of natural disasters. In fact, the people most effected by climate change are most often those with the least power to stop it. But first place goes to Rush Limbaugh, who dismissed Hurricane Irma as a liberal conspiracy (although this didn’t stop him from evacuating his south Florida home).

Meanwhile, here in Massachusetts, we are still awaiting our punishment for legalizing gay marriage and universal healthcare. The sky is blue, the air is crisp and goldenrod is blooming.

Am I a bad person for hoping Hurricane Irma flattens Mar-a-Lago like a beer can against a frat boy’s forehead?

 

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