As millions of Houston residents faced life-threatening flooding on Monday with the saturated remnants of Hurricane Harvey expected to bring even more heavy rains in the days ahead, journalist Naomi Klein warned against the notion, already being pushed by some on the right, that the disaster shouldn’t be “politicized.”
“The window for providing meaningful context and drawing important conclusions is short. We can’t afford to blow it.”
—Naomi Klein”Now is exactly the time to talk about climate change, and all the other systemic injustices — from racial profiling to economic austerity — that turn disasters like Harvey into human catastrophes,” Klein wrote at The Intercept on Monday.
In her piece, Klein warns that the absence of journalists, lawmakers, or experts on the cable news shows and in major papers connecting the dots between human-caused global warming and the severe destruction now underway in Texas is itself a “highly political decision.” And the wrong one.
“The window for providing meaningful context and drawing important conclusions is short. We can’t afford to blow it,” she writes. “Talking honestly about what is fueling this era of serial disasters — even while they’re playing out in real time—isn’t disrespectful to the people on the front lines. In fact, it is the only way to truly honor their losses, and our last hope for preventing a future littered with countless more victims.”
On Sunday, Trump ally Sheriff David Clarke accused progressives of politicizing the storm by discussing President Donald Trump’s response to the massive floods and damage to the nation’s fourth-largest city.
In a Washington Post column, conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt chimed in: “Some advice for my colleagues in the media: Be very slow to politicize this storm. It looks to be quite awful in its impacts. The pull of domestic politics generally and the president specifically on every story is so strong these days that it takes great intentionality to not make this an occasion for another round of Trump trashing or boosterism.”
In pair of tweets earlier on Monday, Klein cautioned against dismissing concerns about climate change and its impact on natural disasters like Harvey, as well as questions about economic inequality and how low-income neighborhoods and communities have been historically left behind by the federal government both in terms of how cities prepare for disasters and how they respond to them.
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