Fair warning. This is a rant. For a lot of reason I will not explain I am fairly well placed in a space where I am fed up.
I was just on my balcony have a cigarette before going to bed. My balcony looks across the Hudson River at the World Trade Center. I was comparing in my mind the events of 9/11 and the Haitian earthquake. Then I thought about Katrina.
In Katrina we lost under 3,000 Americans. On 9/11 the death toll was about the same. Between these two events the US government and US charities spent a lot of money. $ 300 billion dollars perhaps?
We are failing our brothers and sisters in Haiti.
$ 300 billion dollars would feed the population of Haiti, pre 12 January, for 60 years. If every single Haitian sat down on the ground and did no not do a thing our expenditures for the two events here in the good old USA would feed them all for sixty damned years. Two generations.
People I knew died on 9/11. i was as upset about that event as anyone. I went to Katrina and spent all of my money helping people. I borrowed everything I could and spent that too. I still haven't paid off those bills. I feel that I am justified in commenting on those events and on Haiti.
The ugliness in our society has just simply reached a level that I am not able to tolerate. People in Haiti die every day. And in Sudan. And in Yemen. And in Uruguay. And in West Virginia. And in Miami. Mumbai. Name a place.
We live our lives of indescribable luxury. We do our little bitty things to 'help' and go on with our soccer matches and our lunches at work and our prewashed blue jeans. And we ignore the suffering on our planet.
I watched a man die on the streets of Port au Prince yesterday. Nothing special except to those who loved him and trust me there were people who loved him. Children starved to death today on this planet. Mothers cried that cry that is unique; most of us here in our pampered palaces do not know that sound. I do.
Haiti is one hour and 20 minutes from Miami by air. At least four airlines fly to Port au Prince on a regular schedule these days. It cost me $ 160 to fly to Port au Prince last week.
So tell me good and caring Americans: why aren't those airplanes full of you going to Haiti with your baggage full food? Why are there tens of thousands of people in Haiti whose minds have broken wandering around without a therapist to counsel and heal them? We have lots of shrinks here. Why aren't they there?
So we argue our silly political arguments. We actually give a rolling shit if Rush Limbaugh really speaks for the right. People spend millions of dollars arguing over a woman's right to an abortion.
Get over yourselves. You are spoiled. Your concerns are just about 100% childish. You won't go hungry in America. Your biggest concern will be the wound to your pride if you have to get food stamps. You can go to a hospital and get treated; if you do not have insurance you may get nasty telephone calls from a bill collector. Oh goodness, a bad phone call.
Live in a tent during a six hour torrential downpour. Do that when your four year old child has pneumonia. And your elderly mother (old at 50 in Haiti) has one leg because she got slammed by a concrete block on 12 January. Know that whatever you do your child will probably die and when your mother is too much of a burden that you will turn her out on to the street because you simply can not take care of everyone around you who is in need.
You are spoiled rotten. That's not your fault your parents, your society, did that. You are an adult. It is your responsibility to live your own life now. Care about others; care about strangers. Spend all of your money and walk away from your job and abandon the competition with who has the nicest car or the prettiest dress or the best record on liberal social causes. Get over yourself you are not all that important.
You do not matter any more than the naked woman walking the crowded streets yesterday or the nice man who fell over and died while I looked in his eyes. Yesterday. The people who never had a chance because they have had bad government and bad schools and bad luck.
Shut up about what matters to you. I don't care. I am sitting here watching Keith Olberman and if I had the opportunity I would walk in his studio on-air and ask him 'what have you done for Haiti?'.
What have you done for Haiti?
I have the answer: nothing. If you had I would have met you there because you know what? I have.
Shame on you.