There's an old joke about a hurricane approaching a town. As the flood starts to rise, the police chief drives by a man's house and tells him to get in the car and evacuate. "No," the man says, "God is good, I have faith, God will take care of me. I'll stay here."
The flooding rises, and the man has to move to an upper floor of his house. A rowboat comes by, and the fellow rowing it shouts for the man to get in the boat and evacuate. "No," the man says, ""God is good, I have faith, God will take care of me. I'll stay here."
The flood gets so bad that the man has to get on his roof. A helicopter flies by, and the pilot drops a rope and says the man should climb up and evacuate. "No," the man says, "God is good, I have faith, God will take care of me. I'll stay here."
Eventually, the flood rises so high that the man drowns. When he reaches heaven, he goes to God, distraught, and asks Him, "God, why did you do this to me? I lived a righteous life. I told everyone you were good, that I had faith in you. I said you would take care of me. Why did you let me drown?"
"Let you drown??," the Almighty answered. "I sent a car, a rowboat and a helicopter to warn you to evacuate. What more were you looking for?!!"
And so it cameth to pass that a hurricane is pounding the Republican convention. As the New York Times put it:
"With one eye on Hurricane Gustav and their plans still in flux, Republicans opened their convention here on Monday, conducting an abbreviated business session and appealing to delegates to help victims of the storm."
Except... that's not from today's New York Times, it's from September 1, 2008.
Hurricane Gustav was racing towards New Orleans, set to pound the Gulf Coast (yet again...). Conditions were so dangerous that Republicans changed plans about having then-President George W. Bush attend the convention. He ended up skipping it and sent a video greeting instead.
The only difference between then and now is that this time Mr. Bush didn't bother with coming up with an excuse and isn't even sending a "how-de-do."
How appropriate that the GOP convention is once again getting pounded by a hurricane. But this time God obviously remembers that Republicans didn't take His blunt hint four years ago -- kindly having it safely miss their convention -- and therefore He's now taking no chances, making it a direct hit so that no one can miss the point.
All that's missing is Pat Robertson chiming in about proof of God's wrath bringing natural disasters against degenerates and evil.
I mean, surely he'll be doing that any day now. Right? Clearly, he can't miss the blatant evidence of God's Will after two hurricanes and a direct hit. It would be far too crassly deceitful if Pat Robertson only picks and chooses to claim the actions of God when it's simply politically expedient for him...
And the evidence is indeed too obvious to think this is anything but the hand of God. After all, with the Bible's teachings of being your brother's keeper, helping the meek inherit the earth, doing unto others, and casting out and overturning the tables of the money lenders, clearly two hurricanes to start consecutive Republican conventions is no accident. It is God's wrath against the Ryan-Romney Plan to eliminate Medicare and Medicaid for the poor and weak. Against Republican efforts to eliminate Social Security for the elderly and needy. Against GOP actions to repeal affordable health care for all, to cut Planned Parenthood health protections that are often the only medical care available for many women, to force upon women invasive medical procedures against their will, and to block Wall Street regulations.
Further, God created Adam and Eve. He knows how the human anatomy works. Do you not think He was therefore mightily offended when Todd Akin (R-MO) spoke the belief of the Far Right trying to rewrite God's handiwork on how the female body actually functions during times of "extreme stress"? It is no accident that Hurricane Isaac is barreling towards the Republican convention where the party's vice presidential nominee, Paul Ryan, co-sponsored so many of the same bills as Mr. Akin.
And it's no accident that this time around, the Lord Almighty not only doesn't want even a tweet from George W. Bush at the Republican convention, but He doesn't even want the most recent Republican vice president, Dick Cheney, there either, nor the most recent vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin. (Clearly, He's still upset at her dragging him into her mean-spirited small-mindedness by claiming it was God's Plan that she be elected. Obviously it wasn't.)
More to the point, though: "God" spelled backwards is dog. If you don't think that's His way of making clear how angry He still is at what Mitt Romney did to poor Seamus the Irish Setter, then you don't know how truly mysterious God's ways really do move.
But then, in the end, it's all too obvious. God wants the Democrats to win. After all, it's no accident that the name "Barack" means blessed...
And also, God is a Bob Dylan fan.
Follow Robert J. Elisberg on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RobertElisberg