Saturday, January 16, 2010

Looking at Haiti; Blind to home

I'm gonna get a lot of shit for this and people are going to call me insensitive and whatever else. Let me open this by saying. I feel terrible about what's going on in Haiti. I have a colleague with a haitian wife who has tons of family there. I've been barking up my leadership's tree to try to deploy there and help out. I'm not against Haiti or relief efforts.

However, things are getting a little out of control and it's turning into a publicity stunt. And I fucking hate politicians. Especially the loony, lefty, liberals. Let's iron out a few things first. The U.S. pledged $100 million and 5,000 American troops. Urban Search and Rescue teams are already in place as well as EMTs. A friend put not too fine a point on it by reiterating that many of the troops headed that way just got back from a year or more in Afghanistan.

So where's my problem you ask? It's with the asshole Americans that ask "Are we doing enough?" It's with the New York Times that has a "Room for debate" commentary running in its special Haiti section considering the merits of adding to our pledges.

Look, Haiti is fucked up right now. But so is our budget/deficit and most of our troops, which in case you've forgotten are not Cyborgs. They are human beings. And we're America, I get it. World Police go help everyone when they need it; get criticized when we're not of any use to other people. Called bullies. That's what happens when you carry the big stick. People want you on their side when they need you and give you shit when they don't. So we have to help. Haiti deserves our help.

But people, look at home. $100M may not go as far as the Haitians require, but we just can't afford to keep giving. And what's this publicity stunt bullshit with President Obama, and former Presidents Bush and Clinton standing in the rose garden. So now we've got a relief fund being run by those 2 guys, which I have a lot of problems with. Want the list? I know you do.

1. Obama really got on Bush's case about his response to Katrina. I'll agree that Bush's performance was less than stellar. However, how can you, in good conscience, pick up the phone and call Bush after all you said about him? Maybe he said, "This will be good press, which we BOTH really, REALLY need."

2. Clinton. You're a budget guy. Remember what went on while you were president? We had money as a country. You have to have noticed (if Hillary lets you watch TV) that we're in shitty financial shape. As a federal government and as a people. Why not hold a relief fund for the millions of your fellow Americans that can't put food on the table?

3. Obama and Clinton now have the added task of making sure Bush knows how to read.

Any one of those 3 things presents a problem.

I'm not sure how we can want more, more, more at home and then want people to give more, more, more elsewhere and still find time to bitch that we don't have enough here. Really?

Where was everyone during Katrina? Not here helping. Where are we during this earthquake? There helping. The 2004 Tsunami? There helping. Earthquake in Pakistan in 2005? There helping. Cyclone in Myanmar in 2008? There helping. How about the 2007 fires here? Nobody showed up.

Want to help Haiti? Then go for it, but stop exploiting the US efforts as not enough. Stop twisting it. It's relief for another country in trouble. We have NO obligation outside of trying to do the right thing, and we're doing it. More than anyone else and more than we can afford to do in the first place. Saying it's not enough is asinine and unfair to the people breaking their asses in Afghanistan only to come home and leave their family and go to Haiti only to come back and leave their families to go back to Afghanistan. It's unfair to the American taxpayer who lost his/her house recently due to the lending crisis or economic meltdown (and there were a lot of them). It's unfair to the person clinging to his/her job by a thread hoping there will be money for food tomorrow.

Stop being babies America. We can't turn our bleeding hearts toward everyone with a problem, but we will anyway. Recognize that and lose the tantrum about wanting more.