PostHeaderIcon Steyn on FEMA

Mark Steyn, who started a whole new genre of “Apocalyptic Stand-Up” with his bestseller “America Alone,” has a new column entitled, “Our permanent state of routine emergency.” Noting that Bush is leaving DC in an official state of emergency so that FEMA can pay for the additional costs to local governments of the inauguration, he discusses government mission creep in his unique style:

One reason why nobody’s ever done that before is because a presidential inauguration is not (to be boringly technical about it) an “emergency.” It’s penciled in well in advance – in this case, so well in advance that for years Democrats have been driving around with “1-20-09” bumper stickers on the back of their Priuses. Emergency-wise, that’s the equivalent of Hurricane Dan Rather wrapped around a lamppost in his sou’wester, hanging there in eager anticipation every night for half a decade. Generally speaking, changes of government are only “emergencies” in the livelier banana republics where this week’s president-for-life suddenly spots the machete-wielding mob scrambling over the palace walls so nimbly he barely has time to dial the Liberian branch of FEMA and put in a request for extra Portapotties and a rope-line management team.

The proposition that a new federal administration is itself a federal emergency is almost too perfect an emblem of American government in the 21st century. FEMA was created in the 1970s initially to coordinate the emergency response to catastrophic events such as a nuclear attack. But there weren’t a lot of those even in the Carter years, so, as is the way with bureaucracies, FEMA just growed like Topsy. In his first year in office, Bill Clinton declared a then-record-setting 58 federal emergencies. By the end of the Nineties, Mother Nature was finding it hard to come up with a meteorological phenomenon that didn’t qualify as a federal emergency: Heavy rain in the Midwest? Call FEMA! Light snow in Vermont? FEMA! Fifty-seven under cloudy skies in California? Let those FEMA trailers roll!

Like much of his commentary, if you read the whole thing you will be chuckling behind your tears. ◄Dave►

3 Responses to “Steyn on FEMA”

  • What a mess.

    I’m half expecting Bush to go to the wrong door when he tries leaves office and find it locked.

    The shock and awe have worn off. I only hope the American people come out of their shell shock with a new mindset. I’m hoping for another screenwriters strike. That was the best thing that happened in the past eight years.

  • ◄Dave► says:

    That was the best thing that happened in the past eight years.

    I actually thought 9/11 was. For all too fleeting a moment, we put away the donkeys and elephants, and came together as Americans. The Left was rocked back on their heels and their congress critters were reduced to singing “God Bless America” on the Capital steps. The way our kids stepped up to the plate, and went off to Afghanistan to demonstrate their mettle, actually gave this old man a glimmer of hope for our future.

    All too soon, however, they got the bread and circuses back on track and America was lulled back to sleep, while the press bent to the task of demonizing our heroes and promoting their Marxist agenda. Who would have dreamed in November of ’01, that we would elect a pure Marxist to replace Bush in just seven years; because we were weary of doing battle with jihadis, and disgusted with our warriors for pouring a little water on their faces, or denying them access to our court system? I went from being proud of my countrymen to being utterly ashamed of them. I am embarrassed to be an American, for precisely to opposite reasons that most others appear to be. ◄Dave►

  • I still see unity as a negative. 9/11 brought people together in panic and anger, which is the point we made decisions from. We are still paying for all of the bad decisions made after 9/11 and will be for the foreseeable future. The writers strike on the other hand, got people off of their couch, away from their sitcoms and finding something useful to do with their time. A shock doesn’t do any good unless it leads people in a better direction.

    When the Japanese poured a little water on our faces we tried them for war crimes. I hate hypocrisy.

    Who would have guessed that Bush was a Marxist? He didn’t talk like it but he acted like it. He blew all our money and then printed more, taking from our pockets to give to the banks to lend back to us at interest. Marx himself would have trouble topping that one.

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