Act Compassionately

The tornado that leveled Moore, OK was horrible.  Based upon the pictures and news reports, the destruction was mind-boggling.  Although I have no idea of Moore’s actual financial situation, I doubt it has all the resources to clean up, settle, and rebuild itself on its own.  Outside help is necessary.

I can’t get out of my mind that both Oklahoma senators, Coburn and Inhofe, voted against federal assistance for those who were devastated by Hurricane Sandy, but won’t refuse federal assistance in the wake of this disaster.  I know that one of the reasons Inhofe cited for voting against hurricane aid was the legislation had aid going to other locations not affected by Sandy.  Coburn wants the aid, but wants to cut other parts of the budget to offset the costs (Hmmm…. I don’t think he’s specified where, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he would want some reduction in a social program.)

The Atlantic noted that both senators also voted against FEMA in 2011, implying that their stated objections to the aid after Sandy was bogus.

Personally, I believe Moore should get the money and the assistance because that’s what they need to get their lives back to some sense of normalcy.  Furthermore, providing them without caveats and restrictions is the right thing we do as a community.  Through our taxes we, the people, help those who are in dire need (and we can also give through our churches or other organizations as well).  Providing aid is compassionate.  That’s what we do for each other as community.

Did the senators have a sudden change of heart?  I don’t think so.  Their shift in position seems self-serving and hypocritical.

Is there something we can do to make Coburn and Inhofe regret their earlier votes and come around to recognizing FEMA’s value and the need not to be so stingy with federal funds? My first inclination was to close a military base in Oklahoma – the damage would substantially affect Oklahoma and would have limited repercussions across the nation.  (Oklahoma has six military bases, including one near Moore.  Curiously, there are two Coast Guard installations in the state.)  But that’s not right, either.  We should be generous and compassionate.

Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans 12:20-21, “‘…if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.’  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. ”  Pettiness and retaliation are sweet, but they are not helpful in the long run.  (They are probably what has gotten us into this mess we have in our government today.)

I hope they reflect upon the nation’s compassion in the time of tremendous need in Moore, OK.  I hope they come to understand that love means helping the stranger without question or hesitation or seeking off-setting budget cuts.  I hope they realize that government plays a major role in our daily lives and mindlessly railing against it by starving it of revenue at best ill-serves everyone.  Starving government of revenue (aka flatly refusing to raise taxes) is not a policy to reform the way government works – they were elected to make government work, which takes more effort than mindless bromides about government’s size.  I hope compassion will change their hearts.

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About Quentin Chin

Eclectic interests: religion, technology, food, music, current events. I live in the reality-based world.
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