651 It's What We Do
On its best day in its best year, Port Au Prince is a sewer. When you get out into the countryside, it's even worse.
You see pictures here in the US. They do not begin to tell the story.
And when a disaster hits -- and one always seems to -- you look at it and your heart sinks.
A foreign born America asks "Why are we helping them when we can't or won't help ourselves?" The answer is easy: "It's what we do."
Political or natural disaster in a nearby neighbor brings out the best in us. It took only moments -- literally -- for the first offers of help to come in. And coming in they still do.
What was your reaction to all this? If you are typical, chances are it was two simultaneous thoughts: (1) Oh my God! and (2) How can I help? It's what we do.
Yeah, we have problems: Job problems, financial problems, health insurance problems, health problems, credit problems, two wars and counting, bailouts, torn safety nets. But help for Haiti was never in question. It's what we do.
At this writing, there's no accurate death count, no accurate count of the injured and the missing. There won't be for weeks, maybe months. But what does it matter? The number is big. And in the words of one member of either Congress or the Florida State Legislature, born in Haiti they "have no first responders... no emergency rooms."
The country is one big emergency room now as makeshift hospitals are set up in airport hangars and under tents and in towns more than 100 miles from the capitol.
A guy in the neighborhood, a guy who lives in a run down mobile home asks "where do I send my money order?" His own poverty doesn't count for him -- at least not now.
It's what we do.
And hats off to President Obama. Somewhere in the bowels of that administration there has to be a guy who said early on "we're not going to have another Bush era Katrina response. If something big happens, we're going to be there." Probably, the President thought the same way. In any event, there he was on TV only hours after the quake struck, and presenting a fully fleshed out plan for us to help.
And the day after, he was there for us with money and food and water and medicine.
Former President Clinton is US special envoy to Haiti for the United Nations. He was all over the dial telling people what was needed and when. He's doing the right thing. It's what we do.
You do not need this post for a list of places taking contributions. That's all over the internet. All the places you'd expect to be working this are working this. All the churches, the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, Care, Project Hope, even Google.
Just be careful. Already there are charity scams. There's no degree of human suffering and misery that doesn't bring out the con men. It, too, is what we do.
I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you're welcome to them.®