After the Moore Tornado, Put Politics Aside

Tea party rallies against the IRS should wait until the tornado victims are taken care of.

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Workers continue to dig through the rubble of Plaza Towers Elementary School after a tornado moved through Moore, Okla., on May 20, 2013.

The headline story this week is the devastating storm that hit Moore, Oklahoma on Monday, killing 24, seven of whom were children. Mother Nature showed her power and her wrath once again.

I have lived in many cities in America and have experienced much of her wrath. I once tried to outrun (in my car) a tornado when moving from Houston, Texas to New York. I couldn't. I drove out of its path as much as I could and watched from a McDonald's parking lot as it sped past me and others just outside of Atlanta.

But I'm one of the lucky ones. Despite having experienced hurricanes, earthquakes, flooding and tornadoes, I have never been physically hurt by any of them. The people of Moore were not as lucky. And emotionally, I, along with this large village known as America, felt their pain through videos and news coverage of the devastation.

[See Photos: Deadly Moore Tornado Devastates Oklahoma.]

It was sickening to see homes hurled about like people at the hands of the imaginary Godzilla, but this was no movie; this was real. Cars stacked up as if we were watching a Doomsday film. But what also disturbed me (and I know I am not alone in this) was that, at the same time, the tea party scheduled rallies across the nation at Internal Revenue Service offices to protest the IRS targeting conservative groups seeking tax exempt status.

There is a time for politics and a time for compassion. A time for caring about political gain and a time for caring about human life. This organization should have delayed its rallies, in respect to the families in Oklahoma. For as they protested, first responders were searching for bodies of children buried under the rubble of a building they once called their school. And as the president promised quick help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Oklahoma's own Senator Tom Coburn kept his fiscal conservative line in the sand, once again spitting in the face of his people as he did back when the Murrah Federal Building was bombed in Oklahoma City, putting politics over compassion.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the budget and deficit.]

If you want to play politics with this storm, why don't we talk about those who scoffed at former Vice President Al Gore. Aren't these storms now a bit more than just inconvenient? And shouldn't we rethink cutting funds to education and first responders and stop mocking the president, Democrats and unions who cry out to rebuild America's infrastructure?

As a parent, I shudder to think, as many do today, what if that school had been more secure? I live in Los Angeles, known for its earthquakes. When we built our home, to make sure it was safer, they put over 20 steel beams securing the house into the ground. Even if the hillside around it slides, the home will not. Don't those children in Oklahoma and throughout America deserve the same?

And lastly, if we want to put our compassion aside, why don't we chide ourselves for forgetting prevention and constantly reacting to disasters after the fact?

All of these discussions can wait, just as the tea party demonstrations should have, until the bodies are found, the families are notified, the dead are buried and this community has had time to mourn. It will surely take even more time to heal.

  • Read Kelly Riddell: IRS, AP and Benghazi Show the Failure of Obama's Big Government
  • Read Pat Garofalo: Coburn Wants Oklahoma Tornado Aid Offset With Budget Cuts
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