Sinkholes. Sounds like Washington D.C.
In Florida, we have sinkholes that open, gaping, in the ground. Florida is a limestone peninsula riddled with caves and underground streams; as it rains and the limestone melts, open spaces in the rock cave in and the ground collapses.
This week, just east of Tampa, not far from where we live, a sinkhole opened under a house and a man in his bed, with a little of his bedroom furniture, dropped into the hole and disappeared. His body can’t be recovered from the hole, which goes down 50 to 60 feet and continues to grow. As the Tampa Bay Times wrote, “The sinkhole that took Jeffrey Bush’s life will be his final resting place.” It’s shocking. Sinkholes can open up anywhere. Our house is next to an ancient sinkhole that formed a tidal pond connected to the Gulf of Mexico. Another sinkhole could fall in at any time. We have, along with hurricane and flood insurance, sinkhole insurance.
A photo accompanying this story in The New York Times also shocked me. People across the street from the sinkhole house are out on lawn chairs in their front yards, watching the efforts at recovery and looking on as officials inspect and then condemn the house. They seem to be watching it like TV.
It reminds me of a scene in William Faulkner’s The Mansion, one of his Snopes books. A wealthy couple in a small town is getting a divorce, and the husband is moving out. Other townspeople line the fence at the couple’s house, and rural people come on mules and in wagons, to watch. Unashamedly. They just sit there, with picnic lunches, and watch.
During the first battle of Bull Run, people from Washington came out with blankets and picnic hampers to watch the war begin.
How cold to sit and stare at others’ horror.
I mean no disrespect to Mr. Bush when I say it’s too bad a sinkhole doesn’t open up under Congress in D.C. And then I realize that one has. And we’re all unwilling, horrified spectators as our economy falls into the gaping hole caused by Congress’s — mostly Republicans, in my view — shocking irresponsibility.
But I’m not going to pull up a lawn chair to watch McConnell and Boehner and their motley crew sink the country. I’ve seen enough and am turning away from the wreckage and the wreckers.
— Bruce Benidt
(Photo from The New York Times)