The Politics of Fire
As a student of government and politics junkie, I am aware of how many responsibilities the President of the United States has. However, when I learned that President Obama was planning a trip to Colorado to tour the wildfire damage there, I was instantly infuriated. To start, it should be established that I completely sympathize with what the citizens of the great state of Colorado are going through. The fact that the President is executing the duties that his office requires, by touring the destruction of the fires, doesn’t bother me one bit either.
What really burns me up is that last summer, officials here in the Lone star state practically begged the President to travel to our state and examine wildfire damage here and he refused. Texas had millions of acres burn and thousands of homes were completely destroyed. The fires here in our state were visible from outer space. Our state suffered through the worst drought in the history of the country. To paint a picture of the severity of the situation, new pieces of Space Shuttle Columbia were discovered at the bottom of dried up lakes, our agricultural sector of the state took an economic hit of over $5 billion, and July fourth celebrations were cancelled.
Colorado has had several hundred thousand acres burn, and President Obama announced he will be traveling to the state to tour the damage. With this announcement, the question has to be posed: why would the President refuse to come to one state, while immediately coming to the aid of another? The answer can be found in several areas. The first and main answer to this question lies in electoral politics. Colorado is a swing state, and will be critical to the President’s re-election. Second, the Governor of Colorado is of the same political party of the President. Last but not least, Texas is the economic envy of all the other states in the union. With a unemployment rate well below the national average, a right to work state, a fair and predictable regulatory climate, vast mineral wealth, a Governor who understands the tenth amendment, and a low tax rate, one can see how the President would look upon our state with a frown.
With everything mentioned above, I must say it is truly sad that politics gets in the way of the President's duties to the people who elected him to serve. What really saddens me is that regardless of his political ideology, President Obama rode into office on a mantle of change. He promised to change the way business is done in Washington. Hopefully someone will remind the President of that promise he made when he comes to Texas next month to fundraise.