Come, superstorm, and wash away our precious pain

December 11, 2014 Originally published on SFGate

Behold, the first real “dent” in California’s epic drought! The first dramatic equipoise to the brutal, drought-amplifying effects global warming has had on the state’s God-given, human-destroyed water allotment, all by way of a single, epic “superstorm” – which, if I’m not mistaken, is just like a regular storm, only jacked up, horse-whipped and ball-gagged by Fox News and brutal torture reports, enflamed racial tensions and violent protests in the streets, militarized cops, Black Friday nausea, insane gentrification and gangs of entitled tech bros with too much cash and too little class. I mean, right?

Here’s a question: How many superstorms will it take to really alleviate California’s epic drought and make everyone stop planning to move to Oregon or Costa Rica but certainly not Brazil?

Answer: Lots. Many. Big, slovenly mountains of rain, is what we need, far more than just this one blast, probably somewhere between six and 12 superstorms in a row (one per week, for months) if you mix/match the estimates from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the California Department of Water Resources and the various gods of sun and moisture and the imminent Taylor Swift apocalypse.

Or maybe not. Maybe all we need is one superstorm (gigastorm? Metastorm?) that lasts six solid months and dumps 100 feet of snow and a billion gallons of rain and refills all the aquifers, LA swimming pools and artisan ice-cube trays, but somehow still doesn’t quite make up for multiple years of bone-dry dismay, because it doesn’t quite work that way, because you can’t just replenish all that dinosaur-era groundwater that’s been pumped out by desperate almond farmers. Oh well. Give it another thousand years.

Here’s another, even more pertinent question: How many superstorms will it take to rinse out our toxic, entitled, overburdened souls? To draw our exhausted attention away from how much we currently seem to despise and mistrust each other, and the police, and the government, and the Way Things Currently Are?

Is there enough? Is there any storm powerful enough to match our inner turmoil, to wash this sour taste of from the collective mouth? Maybe. Unlikely. Then again, nature has been known to work all sorts of wonders. And/or torments.

Here is America. Where we just re-learned (for the 1,000th time because no one ever wants to believe it), that our fine nation is not what it believes it is. And it never was.

This great and beautiful country, so kaleidoscopic, so full of wonder and promise, is also a vicious aggressor, an irrepressible warmonger, the largest arms dealer in the world, the most drug-addicted, xenophobic, obese and violently gun-obsessed, and the least conscious of any of it, much less ashamed or contrite.

We are a crass oligarchy disguised as a peacekeeper. We are, in many ways, just as bad, if not worse, than those we claim to abhor – as evidenced by just how viciously Bush/Cheney raped the soul of the nation, far worse than anyone suspected (and we suspected a lot), all manner of truly unspeakable acts of CIA torture so repellant, inhumane and anti-Christian as to be the work of the Devil himself – except, of course, it was all performed in the name of a righteous, heartless American God.

Is there enough rain to help with that? To scrub our epic hypocrisy and willful blindness? What about rinsing out some of the sadness and disgust we feel about how Rolling Stone botched its campus rape story so badly that the issue – which is as dire as ever – won’t get the attention it so rightfully deserves? Sexist trolls glutted themselves on RS’ journalistic failure. Meanwhile, campus policies have little by way of balance or integrity, and rapes continue.

Don’t worry, I get it. “Calm down, overwrought liberal columnist.” It’s just a storm. It’s just some much-needed sustenance for a parched and increasingly desperate populace. Why get all weird and big picture? So heavy-handed and abstract? Bring it down. Bring it home.

Fair enough. Maybe that’s the better solution anyway. After all, when epic weather happens, when a rare superstorm blasts the City, when we even get ample warning that it’s coming, including friendly instructions telling us to stock up on bottled water and extra batteries (oh, silly journalists. This is San Francisco: You mean bourbon, Blue Bottle coffee, 4505 brisket and a full charge on all the iDevices), we are forced, at the very least, to pause.

To hunker down. To go inward, get cozy, seal up the leaky bits, protect our loved ones, be reminded of what’s really important. Superstorms, after all, bring more than just water. The also carry an element of terrific menace, potential devastation, a tangible reminder that it’s all terribly fragile, delicate, liable to be washed away in a single, magnificent roar.

The superstorm says, “You think you know? You think you have a a single goddamn clue as to the meanings and the truth, to what holds it all together? You have no idea.”

And let us just say: Thank God for that.

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Mark Morford

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