Paradise Lost

Assuming you do not live in Florida, your relationship to the staggering images of destruction in large swathes of its landscape may be somewhat passive but sorrowful, or more active and anguished if you have relatives or friends who reside there. I have a sister who rode out a long night of very strong winds whipping very large amounts of rain outside her home near Daytona Beach. Compared to Ft. Meyers on the opposite coastline, she got off easy. She’s lived in a few different parts of Florida for over forty years. She has braced for brushes with other hurricanes over that time span. But this one was different, to say the least. Very deadly. Historical in its devastation. The storm chasers, reporters on the ground and meteorologists were kept quite busy documenting this disaster. After all, it’s what they signed up for, right?

Did the people of Florida sign up for this? Stupid question, right? I suppose so, but what the professionals who report and study the various fickle manifestations that represent Mother Nature Incarnate largely left out of their reporting was how–ironically–Ma Nature was aided and abetted in her wicked wrath by we mere mortals called people. Yes, weather may be a “natural” part of everyday life around the globe, but what we humans have done to Ma Nature has been nothing short of criminal neglect. Recall the term climate change. Certainly, anyone paying even the slightest attention to reality has heard at least the drib and drabs about climate science’s “take” on such historical and deadly weather events. There is a clear and irrefutable cause and effect in our planet’s declining ecological health. But don’t try and convince certain people that it is a very real concern. Some of these non-believers live in Florida. Whether born and bred in Florida, or be they transplants or “snowbirds” from the North, they absolutely do not, have not, taken the science of climate seriously at all. Florida–some call it a paradise–is one of many states that are very very red, as in far right of center, politically, regarding whom they support, whom they vote for, and the public policies espoused by such representation. These particular paradise dwellers, in my estimation, unwittingly did sign up for possibly being killed or left in ruins by Ian. The far right legislators of many states seem unanimous in their disregard for the documented climate cause/effects shown in study after study. Red state idiocy. Made possible by red state idiot voters, like those that support Floridian politics: book banning; gay bashing; xenophobia; racism. And the willful denial of science. They just got some harsh payback for that stupidity. Ian’s brutal forces are part of a global level of neglect and ignorance regarding climate responding to such neglect.

Back to those reporters, storm chasers and meteorologists who covered Ian carnage for those grim few days it descended on Paradise. I didn’t hear much about them linking the ferocity of Ian to the decades-long disregard of the climate science that has raised red flags for decades now. Never mind many of those in the media doing the reporting on this horrific reality are themselves trained in science. Maybe that realistic side of this ironic situation will be given voice soon. But I do not hold my breath.

Today Joe Biden surveyed the Florida damage, with its governor, who seems to aspire to prove more reckless and whacked-out than a certain former president who may or may not be convicted of countless criminal offenses. However, while that grifter idiot is genuinely an ignoramus, Ron DeSantis has Ivy League educational credentials. He’s intelligent enough to know better but looking at his ideological agenda, one wonders if being “smart” has anything to do with being intelligent enough to promote something more positive than book banning and denying disaster aid when Super Storm Sandy devastated another part of the U.S. But he got elected. And it was thanks to those who had to chose for their “leader”. The damage has been done. Paradise is–partially–lost. The body politic is a toxic mess. Large swathes of the electorate votes for their own destruction. They can do it all over again this November 8. But even the worse case scenario of that pivotal event won’t matter. This planet is dying. Ian is a red flag in the face of human folly.

Mother Nature will have the final say, not the fools who think they are so smart. So, to those in Florida who lived to tell tale, and who may have been foolish in their political choices, perhaps they can finally appreciate what the expression Be careful what you wish for as you might just get it means.

About jharrin4

mass communication/speech instructor at College of DuPage and Triton College in suburban Chicago. Army veteran of the Viet Nam era.
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2 Responses to Paradise Lost

  1. Rising sea levels may be the coup de grace in that climate denying state.


  2. jharrin4 says:

    among other areas of the planet’s acute distress


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