EDITORIAL: Citizens' suffering should not be politicized
- Yes %
- No %
0 total votes.
Our View: Politicians should not use natural disasters as campaign opportunities.
Michele Bachmann said Sunday that Hurricane Irene was God’s way of saying “‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ ... government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.”
Her spokeswoman later claimed it was a joke, but even if it was, it highlights a serious problem with our political dialogue.
When did it become OK to politicize people’s suffering? No, Bachmann is not the first to use a natural disaster as a campaign opportunity, but that’s the problem: we’ve heard it so much that we’ve begun to simply accept it. Where is our sense of outrage?
It’s not that candidates shouldn’t talk about God in their campaigning, or even that it is inappropriate to bring up God in times of natural disaster.
But it is simply contemptible to use death and suffering as an excuse to bring media attention to your platforms or, worse, to stir up people’s apocalyptic fears in hopes that they will flock to the “safety” of your cause. This is the basest of politics, emotional pandering at its worst.
We are willing to give Bachmann the benefit of the doubt that this statement was said in jest.
Mostly because we have to hope that a presidential candidate wouldn’t intentionally align herself with the master of fear-baiting and former Republican presidential candidate, Pat Robertson, who made a similar statement about Hurricane Irene.
But politicians are meant to be leaders, and as such have a responsibility to rise above the pandering and the fear tactics to elevate the level of political discourse in this country.
We cannot simply stand by and accept this continual hijacking of these communities’ suffering by outside politicians looking to talk about the importance of spending cuts.
It’s disgraceful and disrespectful to those on the East Coast who have lost loved ones, and the millions still without power. And it isn’t — or shouldn’t be — the kind of behavior we find acceptable in a potential presidential candidate.
At least 35 dead in 10 states. Sorry, but we don’t get the joke.