Sometimes it takes a real disaster to make people remember who their neighbors are. The last time most Americans recall that little island to the south of the U.S. was all those boat people trying to get to somewhere nicer than their perpetually devastated country, many dying in the process, or being turned back by the Coast Guard (and THEN dying.) Its hard not to watch the scenes coming out of Port au Prince right now without thinking about Katrina, but I am sure this President will do the job right this time. No more of that "Good job, Brownie" crap.
Living in an earthquake zone myself, I see in this disaster an abject lesson in preparation and laws pertaining to building codes, and enforcement thereof. Haiti is the slapped-down neighbor of their wealthy "betters," in the Dominican Republic. Seems when the wealthy get tired of their uppity former slaves, the beast solution is to sequester them in their own "enclave," call it a country, and thus be done with any further responsibility. I know a few folks in white sheets kinda envy that solution, but too bad they had to settle for "real change." Not that anything has changed all that much.
Anyway, I suspect there will be the usual snipes from the Far Wrong set in the days ahead, despite their claims to being "christians." Which would just be business as usual, of course. I wonder when Dicky-poo Cheney will spew up next. Probably say something to the effect that Prez Obama "doesn't get security" for wasting troops and money in a country without oil, or some such. Oh, you think I've gone too far? Well, time will tell. (Actually took less than 24 hours! See this.)
As for me, I am donating to the Red Cross and Oxfam, and urge all real Americans to do the same. $5.00, $10.00, $20.00, or more if you can. This is going to be a hard and costly venture, and given our history, I don't think its out of line to say this may be an opportunity for the U.S. to repair its international image to a high degree. For those who could give a fig about our international image, allow me to remind you of a few basic facts (yep, facts. You can check them out for yourself, if you think I'm just jerking you around, OK?)
Where does most of the goods you like to buy everyday come from? How 'bout that oil? Or your cars? Steel? Fruit in winter months? I could go on, but then you'd get upset, and we don't want that, do we? Fact one: our ability to compete in the global market for goods and raw materials is directly impacted by how we are perceived by the world community. Fact two: our security at home and abroad are directly impacted by how we are perceived, especially by countries we are trying to help shed extremist elements in their countries, and those same elements from attacking us. Starting to get the picture?
I hope so, for all our sakes.
By the way, did anyone notice who the first foreign government was who had people landing in Port au Prince with rescue personnel and supplies? Hint: they wore red jumpsuits, and carried a large flag. Give up?
Hows that for us "leading the world?"
Dig deep and give large. Never know when you'll pray for a return favor.