Monday, May 15, 2006

The Militarization of Flood Relief

The president of the Urination States of Armpitica will address the nation tonight. He’s going to tell concerned citizens that they needn’t fear anything; the federal government plans to send National Guard troops to patrol coastal regions of states that border the Gulf. Before he delivers his speech, Mr. President practices in the mirror. He’s rehearsing this line, “Aw, c’mon people; don’t pout! We’re not militarizing flood relief efforts, but we’re just testing the National Guard’s capacity to stand there and aim their weapons at the water during the flood season. It’s a temporary situation.” Then, in the privacy of his water closet, the President raises a water gun and squirts water all over the mirror, imagining he’s hitting his target: “Take that, you wussy levee!” Between you and me, the President loves to imagine he’s fighting water with water: “Move over M60; here comes H2O!” He shoots! He scores! He blows the barrel of his water pistol just like the cowboys in the movies. “The citizens cheer!” He straightens his hair and laughs about what a good time he’s having. That night, one citizen named Joe Banks turns on his TV set to lament the President interrupting Prime Time TV. But Joe Banks hears the speech, and says to his wife, “There’s a fine leader. Now I definitely won’t have to buy flood insurance.” After the President’s chat, lots of people feel as comfortable as Mr. Banks. Everyone sleeps soundly. Years later, while Joe’s house sits in water for three weeks and the insurance agency raises its damages estimate to over $24,000, Joe is mighty pissed off at the government for not using bigger weapons to stave off the waters, and just as pissed at his wife for not buying flood insurance.

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