Roger L. Simon

Make Harvey a Catalyst for Something Good

Every time I see people trying to put the blame for a catastrophic natural event on a public official — such as George W. Bush with Katrina or Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner with Harvey — I suspect the persons casting those aspersions have problems of their own.  They are projecting.

If you want to blame someone for Harvey, blame God.  But just be grateful it wasn’t worse, as in: “God gave Noah the rainbow sign, no more water, the fire next time.”

Also, unless you’re so desperate and rigid in your thinking that your ideology has given you a self-induced lobotomy, forget about global warming or climate change or whatever the euphemism of the day might be.  These events have been occurring since long before recorded time. The mountains and the oceans came from somewhere.

These are humbling experiences, even to those of us far away, watching on television.  They should bring us together, not tear us apart or be used to score cheap political points.

Titanic physical forces at work, as are happening now in Houston, should make us realize how fragile all our lives are.  Daily dilemmas that seem so all-consuming to us could vanish in a moment. I am reminded of a 1980 cartoon  poster showing a particularly ambitious woman, whom I assume to be a Hollywood movie executive, crying out in agony: “Nuclear war?  There goes my career!”

It’s probably hoping for too much, but perhaps this “act of God,” horrific as it is, will, ironically, have come along at a propitious moment for our country.  We have been going through a period of the most extreme division, driven to a great extent by virtually minuscule political minorities that were nearly, or should be, extinct.

These tiny fringe groups have been blown up way out of proportion by the media to appear of enormous significance when they should be minor factors of little interest.  Indeed, the more they would be ignored, the quicker they would disappear. But our media has become so rapacious, greedy and ideological of late that only something as monumental as Harvey has the potential to turn its attention away, at least momentarily, from what could only be called the incessant scratching of scabs  — an activity that only encourages more of the same.

Put simply: these puny extremist outfits, whether neo-Nazi or Antifa, ad hoc or otherwise, would barely exist without the media. They have no function other than publicity. They are a narcissistic charade producing no concrete good (in all senses).  Yet they dominate our headlines and public discussion and are endlessly exploited for all sorts of nefarious purposes.

Working together to repair a disaster could and should be just the thing to turn our society away from this self-immolating rut (actually it’s worse than that).  We can’t — and doubtless shouldn’t — all head down to Texas to help with the restoration, but we can do it with our hearts and minds. Given what has been going on recently, it may be a now or never situation.

If a relatively small version of Noah’s flood can’t do it, it’s hard to say what will.  Maybe it will take a larger version.  Is that likely to happen?  Here’s an interesting answer on Quora to the question: “While Noah’s flood was largely impossible, was there some kind of massive flooding in Earth’s history?”

Several. There was the flooding of the Black Sea basin, which probably gave rise to the Noah’s Ark story, 7,600 years ago. There was the inundation of Doggerland, in between Britain and the continent, a thousand years before that. There was the great flood in North America when the rim of a now lost Great Lake Agassiz collapsed at the end of the last Ice Age. There was the general rise in the sea level at that time, flooding many marginal lands. There was the flooding of Pavlopetri 7,000 years ago. There was the tsunami which followed the Santorini eruption 3,500 years ago, and Helike drowned by a tsunami in 373BC.

None of them covered the whole Earth – but they would have felt that way to the locals.

And every one thousands of years before anthropogenic global warming was a figment of anyone’s imagination. Go figure.

Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media.  His latest book is I Know Best:  How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If  It Hasn’t Already.