We're all outraged that firefighters sat by idly while a house burned down, and definitely, this is a terrible embarrassment to those "Taxed Enough Already" bullshit artists who can't admit that Socialist Fire Departments that do their jobs without regard for the person's ability to pay, are a sound idea.
Not many of us have had a house fire. But part of what gives this story such legs is that nearly all of us have had a smoke detector go off by accident and lived through those quick few seconds of "what if the house is on fire"? The fact that from every angle, Gene Cranick would fit in at any Tea Party because he is white, male, working class, border state, and an uneducated hick, makes the lesson more acute. Dear Tea Party: this is what KARMA will look like when it's YOUR house; and Mr. Cranick's reply to Keith Olbermann about his detractors last night: let them wait until the shoe is on the other foot, is just right.
And if it were a black single mom who lost her home because she 'forgot' to pay her fire assessment? The vitriol about loafers and cheats and take care of your own would be louder and also more coded.
And I doubt any Tea Party candidate would suggest paying the fireman with chickens.
But part of what makes Gene Cranick an easy victim of Glenn Beck and Ayn Randites is not his gender or race or even lack of education. It's that he lives next to a cornfield in rural Tennessee. The news media has almost completely fled, or been driven, to the coasts. Those "covering" this story live in New York or Washington or Los Angeles, period. And the spin they bring to it is a decidedly urban one. They are aghast that there are zones in America where people don't have immediate access to services. They forget that Cradick's land probably didn't have electricity until just after World War II. Is it possible that the daddies of those who turned off the fire hoses were beneficiaries of the pesky socialism of FDR and Tennessee Valley rural electrification? Ya think?
The median value of owner-occupied houses in Cranick's county is under 70 grand. You can't get a parking space in Manhattan for that.
And those legislating around this story work in Washington, DC. I don't begrudge professional politicians their jobs like many do, but there's something about the hallowed halls of Congress that certainly does drive heads up asses. I love the comment I read earlier today, that Cradick should put a sign in front of his burned out hovel: "YOUR TAX CUTS AT WORK".
Most of those working in mainstream media and government policy institutions simply live in a world where access to everything, even for a single black mom like Halle Berry, is taken for granted. I'd like to see any fire department anywhere sit idly by while a celebrity's house or even a Tennessee congressman's farm burned down. Gene Cranick didn't have access to Keith Olbermann (who is doing the Lord's work covering this story make no mistake) until after the fire.
We live in many different Americas. They are rich and poor, coastal corridors and fly-over country, educated and not, moneyed and never will be. Being a "have" can mean lots of things. As my children teach me daily, attention is a tangible object.
The conservative who begrudges Gene Cranick his hose full of water because he didn't pay for it in advance is a heartless denier of Christ and all Christ taught.
Burned up, rural, unincorporated, Tennessee backwater, teabag land? There but for the grace of God go us.