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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

No, they will never learn
by David Atkins ("thereisnospoon")

In case anyone was wondering if there would come a point at which basic reality would send a wake-up call to blinkered Tea Party conservatives, you have your answer in the Great State of Texas. Specifically, the town of Kemp, population 1,133:

Water is flowing again from faucets in the town of Kemp.

Now, city leaders hope prayer will provide them with rain.

Water had been cut off in this Kaufman County town of 1,200 since Saturday. On Tuesday night, residents assembled at a local park to pray for rain — a vigil organized by town leaders.

"In Jesus' name, we will have water and rain, and that all our problems here in Kemp will be solved and managed," said one Kemp resident in prayer.

Jeff Culber works for the Kemp Housing Authority. In his prayer, he actually offered gratitude for the problems that caused the water shutdown.

"I want to thank You that these water lines have busted," he said. "It has brought this circle of unity together to come to You and ask You for the resources to fix it..."

"I know that the answer is prayer. And that's where the rain comes from... He's the rainmaker," said Kemp resident Nancy Schoenle.
In the philosophy of religion, the explanation of random suffering as a net plus because it causes other social benefits is called a "greater goods" argument. Greater goods arguments are roundly mocked by anyone who has thought very deeply about the subject. But deep thought isn't the forte of the residents of Kemp, or else they wouldn't have water problems in the first place. It turns out that what the government giveth, the refusal to invest in infrastructure taketh away. Thank God John Thorpe has some earthly answers for the town:
Their infrastructure dates back to the 1930s. Most of the water system's 30 miles of pipes haven't been updated in decades.

It was these old, shoddy pipes that led directly to the water shortage and shutdown in Kemp. The heat wave that has gripped the southern United States for a month now taxed the system, and the pipes, which should have been updated recently but were not, burst. In the past three weeks, there have been fourteen separate water main breaks in Kemp.

"It's sad to say, but it's poor planning," said Kile, who was elected mayor recently. "When they put that water treatment plant in, they should have implemented something then... it just wasn't ever done."

One resident had her own take on the water shutoff, and some words for...god only knows who.

"You tell them this old woman is hot down here — and not just because of the heat!" she yelled. "It's 107 degrees in my blood, because you people... down there won't get off your duff and fix this stuff!"

Mayor Kile is certainly trying. The city is currently spending $350,000 to replace 4,000 feet of pipe. That's hardly going to make a dent in the problem today, and there may not be funding available for more repairs just yet. The city is represented in Congress by a Tea Party favorite, House Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling.

Meanwhile, Kemp's residents are without water in the middle of a non-stop, 100-degree-plus heat wave. While they wait and wonder when they'll be able to drink again, Kemp's residents have had plenty of time to reflect on what they learned by the circumstances.

Or will they? The town ran out of water last year, too. They spent three days with the water shut off as officials, once again, prayed for help.

There is no reality that will wake these people up. They will dance to the Tea Party tune right back to the Middle Ages if they're given a chance, without once even looking back to see what alternatives actual civilization might provide.

If the town of Kemp wants to revert to the era of witch burning and dowsing rods, that's ultimately their business in a democracy. At this point I'm inclined to say "go for it" and encourage anyone with half a lick of sense to get out of Dodge. The problem is that these people want to shove Rick Perry down our throats, and force the rest of us to jump off the ledge with them while our tax dollars support their unsustainable lifestyle.

There is no compromise with these people. You either defeat them, or separate political ties with them. Compromise isn't an option.