No shame

You know, I really hate those cut-and-paste status updates on Facebook. Usually I just ignore them or leave a snarky comment, but the one I saw today struck a nerve.

When it comes to Haiti, obviously I’m a bit touchy about it (as if you couldn’t tell from my completely irrational Proactive rant). Working in the media, I’ve read too many stories and seen too many pictures about this tragedy. But it hits a little closer to home for me than for a lot of folks because I knew, and worked with,  Haitians when I lived down in Florida.

Let’s take a closer look at this statement.

First off, we aren’t the only country that has these social ills like the author implies. I challenge that person to find one country that doesn’t have homeless, where all children are fed properly and the elderly and mentally ill have all of their needs met, unfailingly. If you find it, let me know so I can move there.

Secondly, if you work and pay taxes in this country, you are already paying for programs to help the homeless, feed children, elderly health care and provide services for the mentally ill. Let’s see: Medicare, Medicaid, welfare and CHiP are a few… not to mention the property taxes that we pay to schools for programs that include buying school supplies and breakfasts/lunches for poor children. I’m not saying that these services are perfect and are 100 percent effective. I’m not saying that all of these services address every social ill in our country, and hey, that’s good enough for me.

What I am saying is that in this country, there is help available for the poor. It may require crossing through a bureaucratic nightmare, but still, IT IS THERE.

How it differs from Haiti? Well, Haiti suffered a huge natural disaster. People are scrambling and scavenging for food. There’s little clean water. Shelter is a pipe dream. No sanitation. No power. Corpses piled in the streets and in the rubble of destroyed homes. Elderly people sitting outside of destroyed nursing homes with no caretakers, just waiting to die. Rats running everywhere. Disease outbreaks are imminent and could claim thousands (if not tens of thousands) more lives if something isn’t done.

In other words, the author is comparing long-standing societal ills that have been around for hundred (if not thousands) of years with that of a country that has its entire infrastructure destroyed by a natural disaster.

Yeah, there’s a slight difference there.

Sorry, but I’m not going to feel “shame” for donating to Haitian relief efforts. Not one bit. And I’m not going to feel ashamed of my friends, neighbors and family members who CHOOSE to donate to the relief effort. In fact, I’m happy that in this economy, my fellow Americans opted to sacrifice a little bit of comfort for those who are obviously in much greater need than they are.

Besides, who are you, author of said status, to tell anyone how to spend their hard-earned cash? As an American, they can spend it however they want — if they want to send it to the Red Cross or some TV evangelist, it’s his/her own business, not yours.

And if we’re on the topic of how we spend our money, how much money have you donated to help the homeless, the children and the mentally ill? Probably nothing outside of your taxes — assuming you even pay them.

Oh, and as for that “challenge” at the end — you are right, 99% of people won’t post it, but it has nothing to do with guts.

It’s because they completely and emphatically disagree with you.

(And to answer the burning question, no, I did not and will not defriend the person who posted this — everyone is entitled to their opinion, and there will always be topics where I will disagree with someone — that doesn’t mean that a friendship has to end over it. However, I did express my displeasure about it on the status.)


3 Responses to “No shame”

  1. 1 curtO.
    January 26, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Completely agree Three. Well put.

  2. 2 LaceyPanties
    January 26, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    ❤ you!

  3. 3 Jenny J
    January 26, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    Eloquently put, Dino.

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