Friday, January 29, 2010

Judgey Jeudi - Haiti and one day late

Today I read a facebook status that read thusly:
"Shame on you America: A country where we have homeless without shelter, children going to bed without eating, elderly going without needed meds, and veterans without medical treatment yet we have a benefit for the people of Haiti on 12 TV stations. 99% of people won't have the guts to copy and repost this, but I do!!!!!"

I stared at it for a moment, thinking "There's no way someone can have posted this. No way." But they did. Apparently, many people share this opinion, and I can't help but wonder: What the F***? (I do not curse, but I will certainly imply it in this situation).

The status has the laughable audacity to compare the situation of the poor in our own country to that of the poor (read: everyone) in Haiti. That comparison is ridiculous at best. There is a system in America for the poor, for the elderly, for the veterans. Is it a perfect system? Of course not, but at least we have a government in place to try and correct the failings in those systems. On any given day, in any cty in America, the homeless of our country can find a place that will give them food, shelter, clothing, free medical care and , in many places, the opportunity to gain an education. Will all the poor in our country avail themselves of these things? No, but the point remains that the resources exist, and are free to those who would come. The elderly have resources from the government as well, and while Veterans do find themselves tied up in beuracratic red tape, their medical care is FREE.

In Haiti, especially after the earthquake, there is nothing. Nothing. In place of a soup kitchen, they are recieving food drops that sometimes have to sit on the tarmac because there is not enough manpower to transport them to hungry mouths. In place of medical care, the sick and injured are in tents, on the ground, with scant medication and fewer supplies. The infastructure that could have provided for the destitute and displaced is gone, crumbled to the ground by the earthquake and aftershocks. This is not New Orleans after Katrina, which had an entire country of fellow Americans to help them rebuild. Haiti is not just one city, but an entire country that now has to start from square one. They have no fellow Haitians that were unaffected by the disaster to help them rebuild, and if we, America, with some of the wealtiest citizens in the world, do not help, who will? Should we stand by in our comfy homes, watch them suffer and say "We've got problems of our own!" right before we flip on the XBOX?

The American method for caring for our poor and elderly is far from perfect, and sadly, there are some who slip through the cracks in the infastructure. But the point here is that there IS a system. There IS help available, wheras in Haiti, there is nothing, and to refuse help, based on the argument of our own poverty, is nothing short of ignorant, ethnocentric and hypocritical. Without assistance, the entire country of Haiti will slip through the cracks, leaving America standing sheepishly by, saying "But we had our own poor!".

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