At some point, you’d think there would be nothing left to burn.
Every week, every day, a new fire seems to start, an old one seems to grow stronger. Names that were places to visit are now battlegrounds. Or staging areas. Or victims.
Who dreamed we would see flame stalk the Air Force Academy? Who imagined fire would draw near to NCAR? Whose worst nightmares assumed this much destruction, this much displacement, this heaven on Earth turned hell?
All right. There were warnings. The dry winter, the rapidly vanishing snowpack, the tinder lying ready and waiting. The TV talking heads bubbling on about how beautiful the weather had been, how nice it was not to be cooped up inside by snow and ice.
They’re on my list.
So yeah, I think some of us at least knew we were in for a bad fire season. But never this.
And it’s only started.
Sometimes I think the worst part, unless you’re actually in the path of the destruction, is the helplessness. Oh, we try. We put up friends, we give to the Red Cross, we volunteer to help the firefighters in every way imaginable.
But it’s not what we really want.
What we want is to turn off the fire. Only a few brave men and women out on the line have that chance.
What we want is to turn off the fire season. And not even those few can make that guarantee.
The rest, however welcome, feels so small sometimes.
And then there’s the bits that aren’t welcome at all.
Every day, it seems we get a choice of two images on television: a shot of Colorado burning, or an ad for people campaigning. It’s even odds which one is less wanted right now.
I know, one of the great things about our country is that we keep going on. Even a civil war couldn’t make us suspend national elections and nothing less is about to do it. That’s all very admirable and fine.
At the same time, to continue a pair of high-dollar ad campaigns declaring “I’m the greatest and he’s a jerk” in a state that’s burning to the ground seems … well, petty.
A friend had an idea. I liked it enough to steal it and share it. And I hope someone, somewhere is listening.
Mr. Romney. President Obama. Suspend your Colorado campaigns for now.
Then take what you would have spent on ads in this state, and donate it to the fire relief.
I know you guys. You don’t spend small, especially in a battleground state. A single week can see a million dollars worth of TV ads here, just from one campaign.
The High Park Fire alone has cost around $33 million to fight so far. That’s not small spending either. And it’s doing a lot more than any finger-pointing ever will.
You can help that.
Think about it. And if the sheer humanity of the act isn’t enough, consider it tactically. If even one of you makes this move, the other will have to follow or else look more heartless than Lord Voldemort and Darth Vader combined. Once both of you do it, there’s no fear of losing an advantage.
And the first one to do it comes off looking really, really good.
OK, there’ll be some cynicism. There always is in an election year. But it’s an action that will do some genuine good. Between that and having some peace on their TV screens, I think most voters will respond warmly.
National office is important. But some priorities rank even higher than that. Please, gentlemen. Show us you understand that.
You have no idea.