Saturday, January 30, 2010

Earthquake in Haiti: How Did You React?

How did seeing scenes from Haiti after the earthquake earlier this month make you feel? Sad, dismayed, horrified, afraid? Thankful? Compassionate? Those scenes on the television made me feel all of those feelings and more.

I mean, can you imagine what it must have been like to live there on that day? The earth shakes for a few minutes and everywhere around you, buildings collapse into complete rubble. What would you do? How would you deal with that?

I thought it was a great idea to try to reach out to those people with a helping hand, an absolutely great idea. I was happy to see much of the world rally around them and send food, water, medical supplies, doctors and other volunteers to help out. I was proud: I'm married to a woman who heard that you could text the word "Haiti" to 90999 and thereby donate $10 to the Red Cross to help out... and the same day she heard it, she texted it.

But then.

Then I heard talk on the radio one day of a certain "evangelist" (sorry, but I won't even repeat his name here, I don't think he deserves the publicity: you know who he is, he knows who he is, and certainly God knows who he is, although perhaps reluctantly...) -- Anywho, he actually had the gall to claim that this earthquake was some sort of divine retribution or judgment on the people of Haiti for actions that their ancestors took more than 200 years ago. Really? Come on. I mean... Really?

Then my wife showed me a posting from one of her facebook "friends" and its follow-on commentary and I just could not believe that what I was reading was actually on that little iPhone screen. They were actually complaining that we Americans were spending too much money and help and airtime on the people of Haiti... and how dare we extend that kind of support when we don't even "take care of our own" here in America. Really? Come on. I mean... Really?

People are people, people. People in need deserve our help. People trapped under collapsed buildings deserve to be rescued. We are the richest country on the face of the Earth and we have plenty to go around. Yes, I understand that there are people right here in this very country, state, county and town who have problems, who are sick, who are hurting, who are depressed... and, I'm sorry, but we do take care of "our own" as best we can. That doesn't mean we should shun others who are in desperate need. And if you think we should, then you should be ashamed of yourself.

If you were buried in some rubble, would you want your neighbor to come looking for you? Or just sit there and complain: "Ohhhh.... why do they have to show this stuff on TV tonight? Why are they pre-empting my (insert lame TV show name here) to show this crap?"

Grow up, people. This is America. You're an adult. Act like one.

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