August 26, 2011 in Opinion

Editorial: Earthquake mockers are standing on shaky ground

 

The Spokesman-Review Editorial Board

Members of The Spokesman-Review editorial board help to determine The Spokesman-Review's position on issues of interest to the Inland Northwest. Board members are:

It’s awfully tempting to mock the earthquake that nudged the East Coast, especially since it rattled the nation’s capital – a place more accustomed to shaking up everyone else.

We are mindful that a serious threat, Hurricane Irene, is heading inland. It’s as if Mother Nature has absorbed the nation’s pent-up frustration with politics and decided to vent.

The temblor that registered 5.8 on the Richter scale had the nation atwitter, largely on Twitter. Alas, many people just couldn’t resist. The jokes were best illustrated by a photo of a toppled lawn chair. One retweeted version carried this caption: “We WILL rebuild!”

But it’s no laughing matter. No, sir. It’s just wrong that folks would tweet the following:

“Gov. Chris Christie has just jumped into the race.”

“S&P has downgraded the quake to 2.6.”

“Maybe the debt ceiling finally collapsed.”

“Blame Obama. It’s his fault.”

“Krugman says it wasn’t big enough.”

“There was just a 5.9 earthquake in D.C. Obama wanted it to be 3.4, but Republicans wanted it to be 6.0. So he compromised.”

“Rick Perry denies earthquake.”

“Shorter Romney: Earthquakes are people, my friends.”

It was no more defensible when comedian David Letterman said, “Call FEMEMA, the Federal Extremely Minor Emergency Management Agency.”

West Coast quake veterans weighed in with sympathetic tweets, such as, “That’s what Californians use to stir our coffee.”

Los Angeles writer Steve Lopez said, “I kept hoping some more interesting news would break, like a car chase.”

Never ones to waste a metaphor, journalists capitalized on the seismic event. The Washington Times headlined an editorial “The coming pension earthquake.” Political cartoonists are drawing on every crack and crevice.

Sure, Easterners had an excuse for being all shook up. It seems the geological stuffing of the colder bedrock back there causes quakes to deliver more bounce than a political convention. In laymen’s terms, the East is wound too tight.

Big surprise, right?

Since all quakes are not created equal, we’ve decided to forgo the comedy at their expense. Yes, it’s tempting, but the congressional recess and the president’s vacation will come to an end, so all of those politicians will once again be squeezed inside the Beltway.

This could be a case where the aftershocks cause more damage than the initial quake.

So you won’t hear any mocking from us.


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