Dec 31, 2004

Happy New Year! Who Cares?

It's been a few days since the disaster in Asia occurred. As I write this, close to 150,000 human beings have perished with more at risk from disease as a result of the incredible devastation. You may think this is an occasion where politics shouldn't play a role, yet they do; it's our elected president and his self-appointed moralist allies that are part of the problem, and definitely not part of the solution.
Bush sat in that school class, reading "My Pet Goat" for 7 minutes after being told that "America is under attack". It took him three days to come out of his ranch and pledge a pittance of $35 million to help the stricken people! We're spending some $5 billion every week in Iraq. This was an opportunity for the US to prove to the Muslim world that we care. Some wars are won without bullets or military muscle, but this ignoramus of a president doesn't grasp it. If the $200 billion spent in Iraq already were invested in the Third World, I can guarantee you that America would be a lot safer! That's moral leadership of which Bush is so fond talking about!
Some may say that not all human lives are equal. Besides, not all of them are Christians and/or vote in Florida. Thus, Bush spent $13 billion there last summer after the hurricane disaster. OK, you can't help all people, and perhaps you can start by helping those closest to you. But, can you be indifferent to the rest of human suffering? Should there be a scale of response according to the degree of the suffering?
How about "his base" of the ultra-moralists and religious conservatives? You know, the ones that gave him "a mandate"! Thank you for asking! Well, guess who's doing most of the caring, the fundraising, the contributing? It's the humanists (including the religious ones) all over the world, the secular governments of Europe and Canada, and private business. The well-funded and organized U.S. Christian fundamentalists seem to have a compassion deficit!
Omigod, you're going to have sex, or an abortion? No way! They (American Family Association, the Family Research Council, the Christian Coalition, Focus on the Family, Concerned Women for America, and the Coral Ridge Ministries) are quick to organize and fight against same-sex unions. What's a couple hundred thousand dead Asians? These same organizations are not soliciting aid for the victims of the tsunami. As a matter of fact, there is no mention of this catastrophe on their web sites!
I was not fooled by the slogan "compassionate conservatism" because I knew most of the people using it (along with others who wear their religion on their sleeves) are just looking for a moral excuse not to care and not to act! Pick and choose in the convenience store of religious fundamentalism. Happy New Year!
[I'm not against happiness. On the contrary. I am going to celebrate the symbolic arrival of the new year, because I do have many reasons to be happy and I look forward to better things ahead. Yet, how can I not pause and take stock of this "xmas present"--this horrible natural disaster? I do get mad because of the inaptitude, the callousness, the short-sightness of my elected officials! Many people hate politics, but politics is what we do collectively. It does make a huge difference. Those in power were elected by Americans. I can complain, because it's my right! And, I do want to see some change soon.]


Anonymous said...

It's so sad, the loss of so many human lives... Although, I didn't think the invasion of Iraq was a good idea, we are there now, so we should do whatever we can to stabilize that country.
On the other hand, just $35 mil. to aid the victims of the tsunami is an offensive gesture. I agree with you that had America spent wisely in the Third World, we would have been much safer, and a true leader.
It's a matter of priorities, I understand that, so we can't help everyone, and often it's not "this" instead of "that". I mean those Christian fundamentalists can mobilize for their causes, but it's hypocritical not to go all out for the victims of this recent catastrophe.


Anonymous said...

I wanted to say that just by doing a simple google search, like "helping the victims of the tsunami" you can find a host of worth-while organizations that are part of the relief efforts.
Everyone should give something, even if it's a small donation. My only advice would be to stick with known organizations, because I'm sure there are lots of criminals who want to take advantage of this situation.
I also found out that monetary contributions is the fastest way to help the victims. A $100 donation helps move $3,000 worth of medicine and supplies to the region.


Anonymous said...

After being shamed by many Americans and the world over, Bush upped the US contribution ten-fold, to $350 million. That was good, but his initial response says a great deal about the man and his clique.
Still, compared to the $20 billion set aside for the Iraq reconstruction (read: fat contracts to a few American companies that overcharging us, like Haliburton), this amount pledged today is less than what we spend in Iraq in ONE day!

Pat N.