Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Tornadic Threat

Photo from OAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory, posted to Flickr by pingnews.com, used under a Creative Commons license.

I watched Hillary Clinton's speech tonight in the penumbra of a tornado warning. Not a watch - a fucking warning.

Like any good North Dakota girl, I recognized the color of the sky at dusk, well before the official warning was issued. It had a yellowish, pinkish cast - and yes, that touch of sickly green that strikes me blind with fear.

I was all set to move the children into the basement for the night, but my mate vetoed that, knowing that they'd never fall asleep down there and believing that the danger was probably less than dire.

Of course he was wrong about that; by definition, a tornado warning is the scariest thing in the world. At least in my prairie-gal world. But so it came to pass that we watched Clinton's speech with the picture-in-picture feature tracking the Weather Channel.

The tornado warning was lifted shortly before 10 p.m., just as it became apparent that no concession would be forthcoming. It wasn't the visionary speech on gender that Anna Holmes yearned for in Sunday's New York Times (though that was always an exercise in wishful thinking anyway). It sounded a heck of a lot like a standard stump speech. In fact, as Alex Koppelman observed in Salon's War Room, it "sounded like nothing so much as a victory speech."

And that's when I learned a cool new word. The Weather Channel's alarming red crawl announced that the storm had weakened and now "posed no tornadic threat." Yes, "tornadic" is a real word - either that, or Google is hallucinating.

But beyond southeast Ohio, the tornadic danger hasn't lifted entirely. I assume that Clinton may be negotiating with the Obama camp, perhaps angling for the VP slot, perhaps inching toward another compromise. Maybe she's looking for a role in health care, judging from the intersection of her speech with Obama's gracious remarks on her?

Or maybe she's going to try to take this to the convention in Denver, arguing that she won the popular vote and trying to strong-arm some of Obama's superdelegates into her camp?

I realize that the "nuclear option" - which I hereby rename the "tornedic option" - is not the most likely scenario. It may be no more likely than my house getting hit by a tornado tonight (although the tornado watch goes until the wee hours). But I'll feel a lot better once Clinton takes it off the table. I'd prefer not to hide in the basement until the convention.

And while we're at it, how 'bout getting a tornado siren for my little town? While I was writing this my neighbor just called me and told me we don't have one.


skippy said...

having grown up on the plains east of denver i must agree; a tornado warning is the scariest thing there is.

Sungold said...

Hey Skippy, thanks for stopping by! A good phobia loves company. Even now, the next morning, the sky is still so ominous and the light so dim, it's hard to imagine the apocalypse isn't upon us.