Haiti Matters. Conan, Pat, Rush and Jay Don’t.

It’s no sin to seek refuge from the problems in the world of trash TV and psuedo-celebrities.  But when the earth trembles, buildings fall, people die and the world must answer the cries of the living lest they join the dead.    

The stupidity of a Pat Robertson and the selfishness of a Rush Limbaugh are deplorable and contemptible, but I refuse to let these two trolls distract me from the overwhelming acts of compassion and charity exhibited by people around the world and here at home.   Americans’ like to fuss and fight over dumb stuff. A politician’s gaffe, the egos of two talk show hosts, a billion dollar movie franchise forcing out its director and star and how will American Idol go on without Simon Cowell.  All these trivialities  fade into irrelevance in a time of crisis. 

I’m not on Team Conan or Team Jay.  I could not care less about the petty squabbles of millionaires.  I’m on Team Haiti. Not because I know anyone there. I don’t. Not because they’re Black like me. That’s got nothing to do with it. It’s because they’re human beings. Human beings who are dying, hurting, and suffering. How can I let the blathering of two clueless fools drown out the cries of people in need?

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.

~  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I don’t have time to worry about people who are more interested in airing their petty little grievances than alleviating a child’s pain. That’s on them and their conscience. I’m not pointing any fingers. I don’t have to. You know who you are.

I read an excellent response from a former soldier to some guy who said he’d sooner set his money on fire than give a dime to a failed state like Haiti.   The soldier responded:

If you don’t think the situation in Haiti warrants a shred of effort from you, then just ignore it and STFU. I only hope that in some point of your miserable future, you find yourself in such dire straights, that you have to get on your hands and knees to beg for help while receiving exactly what you’ve given – nothing.

Many years ago, Haiti got hit by a devastating hurricane. While in the Marines, I got dispatched to go there for hurricane relief. We loaded 5 hueys into a C-5 and were on our way. We landed in Port-Au-Prince and met by that despicable dictator, Baby Doc whats-his-name.

At that time, I was rolling my eyes thinking we were supporting this douchebag. The next morning, we flew to the other side of the island to begin one of the most humbling experiences of my life. We had steel 5 gallon containers that got loaded until we hit our weight limit. It was 100 degrees outside with a million percent humidity, but I had to wear my full flight gear – including gloves with sleeves rolled down.

We landed in every little village we could find and I had to pour that water into the most disgusting buckets you could ever imagine. But that’s all they had. Mothers were offering up their daughters to me for a drink of water. It was not uncommon to watch one man cold cock another for getting water before him. I had never seen so much desperation from people that could care less about their government, the red cross, or whatever whiny reason someone might have to hang tight onto their 10 bucks.

We did that for 12 hours non stop for 10 days. There were some places so destitute, that we couldn’t land. I had to jump out and grab water from a helicopter hovering inches off the sandy beach. I couldn’t give them the containers to pour because I would never see it again. When I poured the last drop, we would immediately ascend to about 8,000 ft to cool down, then start all over again. I got a commendation for it, but I don’t think I’ve ever even looked at it because I didn’t deserve it. I simply did what most passionate people would have done. There’s nothing extraordinary about that.

If these people had a choice, I’m sure they would take your crappy life of bitching about charity leaders over theirs. They are poor people living in Haiti because of the luck of the draw – the same reason you get to live in the lap of luxury – luck. Some of you are punishing these people because of the actions of people who have nothing to do with this situation.

Get over yourself and pony up $10 – it won’t kill you. To the rest that have given what they could, thank you for helping the world be a better place.

My mother-in-law is old, bedridden, sick, losing her hearing and eyesight and spends most of her declining days lying flat on her back with a television on she can barely see or hear. But she can still dial a phone and she called to ask, “What can I do to help? I don’t have much, but I want to do something.”

Choices abound. All you have to do is make one.

My wife asked, “How much are we giving?” I replied, “How much today?” We chose to give to Doctors Without Borders. There are a lot of reputable charities out there who have boots on the ground and can use what you can give. Many of the charities list right on the websites how much of the contribution actually goes to those in need.

Some of us can’t give. Others won’t give. Some people see the cause and choose to punish those in need. Others see the need and that becomes their cause.   

Limbaugh could give a lot, but he’s a greedy swine who isn’t hardwired to give a damn  if  poor people live or die.  Robertson could offer spiritual comfort if he wasn’t a vulgar man who pimps religion to mask his hatred.  

As a writer, I need words. Lots of words.  For events such as the Haiti earthquake I have no words.  But even if my words are weak and meaningless that isn’t to say words don’t matter.   CNN reported the story of an 11-year-old girl who was freed from the rubble after two days only to die because there was no hospital available to treat her injuries.

A family member said her last words were, “Mother, don’t let me die.”

If a piddling amount money could make the difference between keeping a girl alive and her dying, how could any human being deserving of the title turn away?

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