[11 July 2010]
Here in America, blame is a national pastime. Nothing of any significance happens without demands for the formation of ad hoc congressional committees to spend a year and a fortune to determine the responsible parties and punish the malfeasance. Nothing is sacrosanct, because Americans are firm believers in justice. (Albeit varying definitions of the word.) “Sh*t happens” might work on a personal level, but it’s an unacceptable motto for a nation.
Now that expectation of investigation is directed at BP Amoco and their Deepwater Horizon debacle. Surely the company cut corners to further boost already massive profits, critics insist, and the failed efforts to control the disaster clearly indicate a complete lack of foresight for how to handle unexpected contingencies – and equally poor planning on how to avoid them. This is being called the worst man-made disaster in history, so someone needs to be held accountable.
Since the explosion happened, several politicians and prominent people have pointed to God as the culprit behind this environmental disaster. Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) says BP could have done better to respond to the spill, but emphasizes that “acts of God are acts of God.” Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) spoke out that the spill may have been “just an act of God” that could not have been prevented. Even Ted Turner thinks the spill might have been the hand of God, though he wonders if God is simply promoting an environmentalist agenda.
It would be politically convenient to dismiss the mess as another of God’s random acts, but if I’ve learned anything from American televangelist Pat Robertson, it’s that we humans have a very cause-and-effect relationship with God. In January 2010, Robertson blamed the earthquake in Haiti (and its 230,000 deaths) on an age-old ”pact to the devil”. In 2005, he pondered a connection between Hurricane Katrina with legalized abortion. In 2001, he agreed with Jerry Falwell that 9-11 was perpetrated by terrorists, but that pagans, abortionists, feminists, gays, and the ACLU deserved some of the blame because they have tried to secularize America.
I know, you may dismiss these assertions as overzealous nonsense, but Robertson is surely more of an expert on God than the Governor of Texas or a billionaire businessman. What if he’s right? What if BP’s oil disaster is in fact an act of God – but a willful punishment rather than random recklessness? If God is making a statement that American’s should change their ways, that doesn’t bode well, because let’s face it, we’re not going to change our ways. We are a nation that enjoys drinking, gambling, strip clubs, drugs, tax evasion, adultery and so much more that we’d prefer didn’t appear on the transcript of our application to the afterlife. In short, punishments at the hand of God are likely to continue.
That’s bad news for the Gulf Coast, which seems to be God’s preferred target for spanking America, from repeated hurricane pummelings to so-called “man-made” catastrophes to the inexplicable failure of the NBA’s New Orleans Hornets. It hardly seems fair that in a nation of 309,000,000 sinners and 379,000,000 square miles of acreage, a few million people and a few thousand miles of coastline take the brunt of God’s wrath. While so-called “natural disasters” occur all over the nation, it would be difficult to argue that either Massachusetts, Ohio, or Nevada have been having the same dismal decade that the gulf region has endured.
Perhaps it’s time we consider, for humanitarian reasons, saving the southern states from America’s wicked ways and allowing Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and a sizable parcel of southeastern Texas to secede from the union. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll lament losing this lovely region of the nation, but the residents of those areas are paying a disproportionate share of God’s sin tax – it seems only fair that they be given the chance to thrive and suffer of their own volition.
The new Gulf States of America (GSA) could immediately achieve economic self-sufficiency through tourism and the petrochemical industry (which will be more reliable once God starts distributing His wrath to Montana and Indiana), and existing infrastructure would allow the GSA to continue to work with their former countrymen. The region would surely thrive when it is freed from the repeated setbacks it has been receiving for sins committed in Atlantic City, Las Vegas and Fargo.
True, residents of the remaining 45 1/2 states will have to pay more for oranges and grapefruit, but the USA will still retain one Disney theme park (the original, mind you), a few great musical cities, and the vast majority of major league sports teams. Those of us on the northern side of the divide will still have New York City, Hollywood, Las Vegas, all of the Great lakes – more than enough for its populace to continue to bill itself as colonizing the greatest nation on Earth.
Best of all, everyone in the other 45 1/2 states will be able to rest easy, our collective conscience cleared because strangers down South are no longer suffering for our sins. At least until God starts focusing on Delaware or Oregon or wherever. Which God will likely do, because according to Reverend Pat, that’s the way God rolls. “Sh*t happens” doesn’t fly with God, either. Someone needs to be held accountable.