How politics have changed in this country the last few years! Last week the State of Texas was denied federal assistance by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The wildfires in the west have damaged over 2.2 million acres, more than the states of Rhode Island and Delaware combined. There have been more than 9000 fires reported since November and more than 400 homes have been destroyed. Yet FEMA denied the Governor’s request for aid on the basis that the state has already been given twenty “targeted grants” specifically to deal with wildfire threats. The governor’s office responded by stating that the federal money was already specified for particular incidents not for larger more general damages. Governor Perry said “I am dismayed that this administration has denied Texans the much needed assistance they deserve. It is not only the obligation of the federal government, but its responsibility under law to help its citizens in times of emergency. Our state has become a model for the nation in disaster preparedness and response, but Texas is reaching its capacity to respond to these emergencies.” I must confess to having mixed emotions on this issue. On one hand, as a Texan I take great pride in the fact that when disasters come, natural or otherwise, (and we’ve experienced both in my family in recent months and years), we don’t sit on our front porch and wait for the FEMA trucks to arrive! We get out and help our neighbors and ourselves pick up the pieces and put our lives back in order. On the other hand I simply can’t believe that this current administration in Washington has suddenly become so fiscally conservative that they simply can’t find the money to assist those who have lost homes in West Texas wildfires.
This administration has funded every pork barrel, boondoggle project it could find over the last couple year under the guise “economic stimulus,” and now suddenly when a state which happens to be in political opposition to the president, finds itself in dire straits, the money dries up? I find it impossible to believe that there’s not a bit of quid-pro-quo happening here! You can call me a conspiracy hack if you want, I’d rather owe the feds as little as possible anyway, but when I see the administration in Washington investigating the possibility of bailing out blue states like California, and in turn refusing to help a red state like Texas with disaster relief, I can’t help but conclude that political bias is at play! Say what you want about President Bush, but he was much more even handed in helping any state recover from disaster, red or blue.