I'm Totally Fine With Ignoring Ron Paul

By Ta-Nehisi Coates

It's always bugged me that Ron Paul was allowed to basically pull a "Wasn't Me" after a trove of bigoted literature was found bearing his name. Whatever. 


This sort of insanity is enough for me:

"I live on the Gulf Coast. We put up with hurricanes all the time. In 1900, before FEMA, the local people rebuilt the city, built a seawall, and they survived without FEMA," Paul told NBC. 

A catastrophic storm hit Galveston in 1900, killing thousands.

Indeed:

The dead bodies were so numerous that burying them all was not possible. The dead were initially weighted down and dumped at sea, but when the gulf currents washed many of the bodies back onto the beach, a new solution was needed.

Funeral pyres were set up wherever the dead were found and burned for weeks after the storm. The authorities passed out free whiskey to sustain the distraught men conscripted for the gruesome work of collecting and burning the dead.

More people were killed in this single storm than the total of those killed in all the tropical cyclones that have struck the United States since. This count is greater than 300 cyclones, as of 2009. The Galveston Hurricane of 1900 remains the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history.

There's likely some critique to be made about why Jon Huntsman is getting coverage despite anemic poll numbers. Clearly Huntsman fits into a certain kind of conservative institutional ism that media enjoys (Cut the deficit. Don't bash the gays. Don't talk about abortion and poor people.)

But the enemy of my enemy is not my friend. Ron Paul's thoughts on FEMA, like his thoughts on black people, are the spoutings of a nihilistic reactionary. Having a critique of Libya isn't enough.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/08/im-totally-fine-with-ignoring-ron-paul/244262/