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STEINBERG: Can’t we pretend Hurricane Harvey never happened?

Water from Addicks Reservoir flows into neighborhoods as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise on Tuesday in Houston. | AP Photo

What storm? You mean Hurricane Harvey? Or rather, so-called Hurricane Harvey?

Never happened. An obvious fraud cooked up by Democrats trying to push their “climate change” agenda. The images on TV of waterlogged Houston residents being led to safety through flooded streets? Actors on Hollywood sound stages. More fake news by CNN trying to goose ratings with inspiring tales of rescue and . . ..

Nah, it’s no good. Can’t do it. See, that’s why we liberals are at such a disadvantage. We have one hand tied behind our backs in the street brawl for America’s soul, denied the full range of fabrication easily employed by the Right, from simple bald lies (Ted Cruz first claiming he supported relief for Hurricane Sandy, then, fibbing again, insisting the bill was laden with pork. Which it wasn’t.) to the most elaborate fantasies (Alex Jones suggesting that Nazi protesters at Charlottesville were Jewish actors).

Meanwhile, we’re mired in the troublesome realm of the real. Democrats just can’t contort our minds the way they can. We’re like rheumatic middle-aged men trying to compete on the pommel horse against Olympic gymnasts.

OPINION

I can’t even in good conscience hold up Hurricane Harvey — the worst rainstorm in United States history — as an example of climate change. While it is certainly the sort of meteorological disaster we are going to see more and more of as the Earth heats up, you can’t point to any one particular storm and lay it at the feet of our warming world. That’s why even though the evidence of climate change is as clear and undeniable as evidence that something wet and windy hit Houston this past week, that doesn’t stop Republicans from denying the former as they shed crocodile tears over the latter.

Honestly, I’m not even comfortable using Hurricane Harvey as column fodder, because there are people involved. People suffering. Their homes destroyed, their lives upended. You don’t turn that into a joke.

Either you sympathize with people or you do not. That is the essential gulf we see in America today.

If, like Donald Trump, you don’t care about people, you can push for your expensive, unnecessary wall, based on some panting fear of cartoon Mexicans sneaking across the border and jamming your precious lily white country with their noxious selves.

If you don’t care about people, you can, oh for instance, kick all the transgendered soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen out of the military, on a whim, without consulting your generals, hurting both the service members being unjustly canned and national defense.

Nobody can care about everyone. That is why concern tends to be local. Ourselves, then our family, then our neighborhood, our city, our state, our country, each new ring somewhat diminished — unless drama intercedes. You didn’t care about folks in Houston last week, but you care now, maybe, a little. How could you see those images and not?

Granted, some care more than others. I tend to be a me-me-me sort of guy, left to my own devices. Only I’m not left to my own devices, not these past 27 years: 27 years this Saturday, in fact, married to one of the more sympathetic women around, who planted herself in front of CNN, horrified by images of the disaster. (Me, I was more horrified at the coverage. The half hour I could stand watching, CNN devoted more time to a dog found wandering with a bag of kibble than to outlining the general contours of the disaster.)

We were talking about what to do for our anniversary and she blurted out: “Why don’t we take the money we’d spend and give it to flood victims?”

My face twitched. I thought of the homemade pie at Prairie Grass.

“That’s a great idea!” I said, trying to muster a believable imitation of a smile. Can’t leave dissembling entirely to the GOP.

I picked Catholic Charities of Galveston-Houston. Its website was down, but you can give through Catholic Charities USA, at catholiccharitiesUSA.org. One click and done. It’s easy — as easy, sniff, as pie.