Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Rant: 48 hours on

So my rant or fit of anger or pique or whatever it is called is 48 hours old now. I have had time to calm down from the sensory overload that I experienced Thursday to Monday.

Going back and forth between the US and Haiti as I have been doing is a jarring exercise. The fact I am doing this every few weeks is creating a cumulative effect on me. My frustration with the lack of activity on the part of every segment of my home society is growing by the hour. There is a humanitarian disaster (as opposed to a point event disaster like an earthquake) evolving less than two hour's flying time from my house. That really bothers me.

It bothers me because for the first time in human history the facts of an imminent disaster are available to everyone who cares to know. This is not the early Soviet Union where Stalin killed 20 million and no one knew. This is not Nazi Germany where our leaders knew that the government of Germany was killing millions of innocents but the population did not know here. This is not Rwanda in Bill Clinton's term where people sort of knew something was wrong but the tribal complications and distance created indifference. This situation is simple; the facts are out there for everyone; the situation degrades every day.

I have come to the conclusion that the US is comprised of a bunch of hard working people who care deeply about a lot of things. People who look themselves in the mirror and tell themselves that they are contributing members of society. The totality of this culture is one of giving and compassion. The problem lies in that totality.

We seem to think that our government will take care of things like Haiti. Our government will make sure that tens of thousands do not die of malaria. Our government will 'do the right thing' and make sure that things are OK for the Haitian people. After all, we tell ourselves, the US gave billions in aid after the earthquake so we have done our part. Many of us donated money to the Red Cross for Haiti. We can feel good about that.

That sort of group think collective avoidance of individual responsibility for action is directly affecting the people of Haiti. A nation built on the principle of individual responsibility and individual action has become a nation that wants reality TV and delivery pizza.

What is our individual responsibility? We all have our own answer to that question. Based on the comments I have received from my rant two nights ago I pissed off a lot of folks. I think that is wonderful. According to the site counter there have been just under 200 readers of that page since I put it up. 200 folks; the few who reached out to me were angry. I hope I made 200 angry. Maybe one or six or thirty will take action.

The next rant is scheduled for the 24 hours following my next return from Haiti if not before. Fair warning.

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I welcome comments, questions or anything anyone wishes to post on the situation in Haiti.