On his show Thursday, Glenn Beck offered a pair of ridiculous stories about bootstrappy Americans refusing help from the evil federal government in the wake of a natural disaster. They both sound like complete BS to me. Here he is talking about the first one, on which he models the entire story:
Glenn Beck told his radio audience Thursday that when he started his charity, Mercury One, the goal was to recreate the American spirit that existed in the 1920s.
In that era, he said, there was a devastating flood and the federal government attempted to offer assistance — only to be turned away by the people.
“When the trucks came, the people actually met those trucks in the streets with guns and said, ‘Turn your federal trucks around. We don’t need you here, we don’t want you here. We are a community that takes care of ourselves,’” Beck said. “And they actually turned the trucks around and sent them back home to Washington.”
He’s almost certainly talking about the great Mississippi River flood of April 1927, which left huge parts of several states under as much as 30 feet of water. But there is no evidence I can find that any such turning away of aid took place. In fact, quite the opposite happened. President Calvin Coolidge refused to send any federal aid for months as the southern governors and mayors begged him to do so. In fact, he refused to visit the area or to even make an appeal for private charity. The Red Cross bore most of the cost of the pitiful response. Coolidge didn’t propose to send any federal money at all until December, when his hand was forced by Congress, and then he demanded that it be a far smaller amount than Congress wanted to send. A bill to send aid was finally passed more than a year after the flood. So much for those bootstrappy, anti-federal flood victims. And now, the new story:
In the wake of the devastating tornadoes that rocked the Midwest over the weekend, Beck reported that thanks to the efforts and contributions of the American people, a group of individuals in Illinois has recaptured that American spirit and turned away the FEMA trucks.
“We have three Mercury employees that witnessed it,” Beck said. “FEMA trucks come rolling down the road … they come into one of these church parking lots, and the church and the people meet them at the parking lot and say, ‘Turn your trucks around. We don’t want you here.’”
Beck said the FEMA representatives said they were there “to help,” but the individuals responded with something along the lines of: “We got it covered. Our community has come together. We have it covered. Go find someplace else. Turn your trucks around. We don’t need you here. That’s our job.”…
“Success, America,” Beck said. “Success.”
One of the commenters on the article sums it up very well:
My home is barely one mile from the most significantly damaged part of Pekin. I can assure you that these morons did not consult with me before they decided to turn away aid that was paid for with my tax dollars. And I give away nit an insignificant number if tax dollars in a year, believe me. That’s what’s so baffling about the entire thing. What these guys did is akin to having a car accident, then when the insurance check comes in, ripping it up and sending it back to the insurer with a xeroxed copy of my ass captioned “PISS OFF I GOT THIS.”
I think next time these brave, self-reliant Americans want to drive, they should avoid all roads built with federal money (which is almost all the highways). Let them go off-road to show how resolute they are in avoiding federal help.