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Opinion: Politicizing tragedies needs to stop

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After the recent hurricanes, politicians and media outlets have exploited the tragedies for their own agendas.

After the recent hurricanes, politicians and media outlets have exploited the tragedies for their own agendas.

U.S. Dept. of Defense

U.S. Dept. of Defense

After the recent hurricanes, politicians and media outlets have exploited the tragedies for their own agendas.

Yianni Sarris, Guest Writer

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Recent hurricanes have highlighted a problem across America: tragedies are being exploited for political means, and it has to stop.

It is no secret that North America has been terrorized by a slew of hurricanes over the past month. The majority of Americans came together in a brilliant show of unity, however not all of them. Some decided to use these tragedies to further their own political agendas.

According to a recent estimate by Moody’s analytics, Harvey and Irma caused a combined $200 billion in property damage. Yet rather than focusing on the terrible destruction caused and having sympathy for the victims, America’s lovely and honorable Twitter activists start… attacking Donald Trump. As usual.

After announcing his plans to donate $1 million of his own money, Twitter exploded with angry activists somehow hating on him for even that. @arod671 said “Isn’t he worth “Billions”? A mill is a drop in the bucket compared to all the money @realDonaldTrump is making illegally by his Presidency.” @ELLENRgtbabe asked, “Is that Russian currency?”

Even after a donating a million dollars, there are still people who, rather than focus on where the money is headed, continue to push the same Trump agendas they always do.

Beyond Twitter, plenty of other left-leaning media outlets likewise used the tragedy as another opportunity to get a few punches in. CNN’s article about Trump’s reaction was titled “Trump wins praise in Texas, but keeps empathy at bay.” Only CNN can somehow bash Trump in the same sentence it praises him.

Likewise, ABC News’ headline said, “Trump thanks Texas officials for hurricane response, barely addresses victims,” despite Trump meeting with victims across Texas in person.

And people have begun to notice. Nick Somich, a humanities teacher at Mayfield High School, said, “I have noticed politicians who become eager to further their own agendas when they give a press conference discussing some tragedy.”

He noted the possible positives of using a tragedy as a medium, saying that it is true “people can come to understand what perhaps they haven’t heard before,” however continued on to say that despite this, “to think someone is capitalizing on this sadness just is ethically wrong.”

Alan Shvartsman, a prominent AP student who is known for his interest in politics, said he has noticed it “on social media, Twitter particularly, but also on the news.” He also said the act itself was “immoral and insensitive” as well as “self-centered.”

Across Twitter, it is nearly impossible to miss someone talking trash about Donald Trump on any given day. However can they have some sympathy and not use this very recent disaster?

One of the biggest natural disasters in recent American history is simply being used as more fodder to attack Donald Trump, and quite frankly it is inappropriate–it’s unfair to those afflicted to use their situation to further your own agenda/argument.

Conversely, Trump himself misuses the tragedy to push an agenda of his own as he took to his own famous Twitter account on September 13, 2017: “With Irma and Harvey devastation, Tax Cuts and Tax Reform is needed more than ever before. Go Congress, go!”

Trump is very much a victim here, but that doesn’t make him just as guilty.

This is more than just hurricanes: whenever a tragedy occurs, people on either side of the political spectrum use it to push some agenda.

For example, a terrible fire happened in London this past summer. According to The Economist, the reactions of party leaders in response to this was seen as determinant of how fit for office citizens viewed them to be. The same occurs here in America: after the hurricanes people are immediately analyzing Trump rather than focusing on the survivors.

For many Americans, this is just a sense of Deja-Vu as it brings back memories of Katrina and President George W. Bush’s highly contentious response (and Kanye’s).

It’s true that how leaders act in times of conflict is very determinant of their ability to lead, however the point of contention here is when to focus on what. Give the country time to recover. And then, months later, let political scientists analyze the effects of a given politician’s leadership ability during crisis.

Those who misuse the tragedy are doing a disservice to those afflicted, as they need attention and support much more than “Trump doing a bad job” does. Once again, we promise we all know you don’t think he is a good leader. But give it a break for once, and focus on the real problems here–those with influence can do much more good for society bringing attention to the afflicted than they will beating a dead horse.

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Opinion: Politicizing tragedies needs to stop