But Not A Drop To Think

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Memo to Rush Limbaugh and Jeffrey Seyfert: YOU ARE DUMB.

There is no greater tool in the arsenal of the professional dickwad than the false equivalency. I've expounded on this many times in the past. It's when someone with an axe to grind treats two completely different situations as if they were the same. They do this so they can compare the reactions or solutions to the two situations in a way that makes them look good and their enemies look bad. It's a classic dick move.

The way you make it work is through the powerful effect that superficial similarity has on stupid people. Take, as an example, floods. If you're an idiot, a bunch of water is a bunch of water. A basement-full, a field-full, or a city-full, doesn't matter. Its all floods, so its all the same.

Rush Limbaugh knows his audience is stupid. He knows this shit will work on them, especially if it can reinforce their existing worldview and prejudices. So while it wasn't surprising that he'd say this, it's still quite the dickly move. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"I look at Iowa, I look at Illinois—I want to see the murders. I want to see the looting. I want to see all the stuff that happened in New Orleans. I see devastation in Iowa and Illinois that dwarfs what happened in New Orleans. I see people working together. I see people trying to save their property…I don’t see a bunch of people running around waving guns at helicopters, I don’t see a bunch of people running shooting cops. I don’t see a bunch of people raping people on the street. I don’t see a bunch of people doing everything they can…whining and moaning—where’s FEMA, where’s BUSH. I see the heartland of America. When I look at Iowa and when I look at Illinois, I see the backbone of America."

Rush "sees" devastation that dwarfs what happened in New Orleans. He sees it. Now, I hate to minimize the suffering and damage from this year's floods, but I wouldn't have to bring them back down to their actual size if Rush Limbaugh hadn't inflated them so that he could praise Midwestern (white) people and deride Louisiana (black) people. So here we go.

Death Toll (Midwest Floods 2008) - 24
Death Toll (Katrina and Flooding) - 1,836
Damage Estimate (Midwest Floods 2008) - $3 - $4 billion*
Damage Estimate (Katrina and Flooding) - $81 billion

Comparing the size of these floods to Katrina is like comparing the size of Rush Limbaugh's daily Oxycontin dose to Rush Limbaugh himself. Both are troublingly large on their own, but it's clear to everyone except racist fuckholes who want to keep blaming the New Orleans victims for their inability to breathe underwater that one of them is much, much larger than the other. False equivalency.

We know why Rush says it. Because he's a hateful bastard and because his audience needs to hear it. And sure enough, the talking point was picked up loud and clear by Jeffrey Seyfert in a letter that the Star Tribune inexplicably made its "Letter Of The Day" last Sunday.

"Where is Hollywood and why aren't they putting together a telethon to help the victims of the flooding? Where is Kanye West looking into the camera and saying George Bush hates black people... The reason you don't see them is it doesn't fit the template. It doesn't fit the template that the federal government is supposed to be omnipresent in our lives and that self-reliance and self-responsibility are mere clichés of days long ago."

No, you fucking moron, the reason you're not seeing these things is that Hurricane Katrina was somewhere between twenty and seventy-five times worse than this year's floods. What you have done, if you'll allow my true equivalency to get in the way of your false equivalency, is damn an entire nation of paraplegics for their poor stair-climbing ability because you managed it just fine when you were on crutches. And if you're going to be that big of an asshole, at least have the sense, like Rush does, to get PAID for it.

So please. Take your lingering resentment, your simmering racism, and your apparently gnat-like memory of recent history and fuck right off back to your comfortable life in Farmington. Take five minutes out of the three hours a day you spend listening to right-wing talk radio and spend them learning to use Google and a calculator, and maybe, just maybe, you won't publicly humiliate yourself like this again.

*There's no final damage estimate as yet, so I took the average of what I could find, and then I doubled it just to be safe. Double it a couple more times and it's still not even fucking close.