December 29, 2004
Happily, it's not taken long for humans to make sense of the horror of the Indian Ocean tsunami, and we have our friends in Red America to thank for this development. According to close sources, one actual theory of meaning emerging amongst our fellow Americans is, paraphrasing, "maybe this is God's way of dealing with what those people did on 9/11." Nevermind that the destruction visited upon the peoples of south and southeast Asia and western Africa was not limited to Muslims: this vast region is also populated by Buddhists, Hindus, even many Christians, in India, for example. Forget that the group that was the most displaced and felt the greatest brunt of the killing force of the waves was the very indigant poor, even though Osama bin Laden and his henchmen represent a well-financed extremism. Ignore the fact that the tsunami didn't even take place near where the terrorists of 9/11 came from or were safe-harbored. It just doesn't matter to Americans who are capable of this kind of sick, superstitious thinking. To them, brown people---all of them, apparently---are Muslims who want to kill us and have.
At first I wondered why the Bush Administration has been slow to react to the aid effort; after all, might not a Lakoffian analysis state that this is precisely the sort of situation where a conservative would endorse the action of his government to provide unconditional aid, a natural disaster where no "moral shortcoming" could be blamed for the lot of suffering? But now I wonder if they weren't simply being good representatives. You got to dance with them what brung you.