Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pardon me while I rant

Before I get started on this rant I want to say that I do think the situation in Haiti is a tragedy. The toll in human life is simply staggering, and the misery the Haitians are enduring is something I cannot imagine. I'm glad we live in a prosperous nation there the government will give money and resources to help, and Americans of all stripes will part with their money and time to do whatever they can to aid the cause. Helping others is the right thing to do, particularly when you're in the enviable position of possessing the means to provide that help. Having said that, did we REALLY need all four networks broadcasting the benefit tonight? Wouldn't one have been enough? It's not like I'm going to donate while I watch channel 4, then switch to channel 9 and donate again.

Now, I don't want to go off on a rant here, but there are another couple of things that have been nagging at me. Barack Obama has been travelling around the world for a year apologizing for the arrogance of the United States, yet every time there is a natural disaster, the world seems to hold its breath waiting to see what the USA will do. And we're in a no win situation! If we don't do enough, we're crass, thoughtless Americans. If we take charge and get 'er done, we're an occupying force. So time and again we pour treasure, time and resources into places like the tsunami ravaged Asian coasts, earthquake zones in China and elsewhere, and now Haiti. The only natural disaster we have not had a stellar response to was within our own borders, and much of that problem was caused by the decisions of men (neglect of the levies, failure to evacuate, etc) not the lack of a proper response. So when we're always at the front, giving the most in terms of time, treasure and resources, what right do other countries have to criticize us for 'occupying' a land?

When you look at Haiti, you see a land where the United States has given over $1 billion in foreign aid over the last 5 years. Despite that, the country's infrastructure was crumbling (before the quake), half the population is out of work and illiterate, and drugs, gangs and disease prey upon the people who live there. Now, with the earthquakes, we're pouring in another quarter tone-half of a billion dollars of government funds (that we all paid for) and for the last week up to and including tonight's telethon, individuals are donating their hard earned personal money to help the relief efforts. I'll be very interested to see how much the people, not the government of France gives; or for that matter, the countries that house so much wealth and hatred for the west, like Saudi Arabia, China, Russia. They castigate the 'ugly American' but when the fan meets the feces halfway around the world, thousands of anonymous Americans will willingly give these people money because we have things so good here, because it's the right thing to do, even though we never can know how that money was used or who really benefitted.

And this is the country that Obama repeatedly apologizes for.

Now look forward ten years and pretend Obama has gotten all of his programs passed and Oprah is delighted because the US is now like Denmark. College education is free, healthcare is free and housing is subsidized. Evil corporate executives don't make much more than their employees, everyone drives a hybrid car, the population of trees is up 2000% because of people and corporations buying carbon offsets to make up for the fact that when we breathe we pollute the earth with carbon dioxide, and all the guns are melted down into statues so there's no crime. You can look forward to enjoying your retirement (social security is fully funded, of course) in peace and harmony with all beings. Of course, your federal income tax rate is 50%; payroll tax is another 15%; state tax is 10%, gasoline is $8 per gallon and your utilities are 4 times what they are today, leaving you about 15 cents of every dollar you make to purchase food, clothes, and any miscellaneous things like going on dates, or buying birthday and Christmas presents. In this world, when the earth quakes and people need help, if we can't afford it, who will run to the rescue? France? In ten years, they're going to be majority Muslim due to their declining reproduction rates. What is the humanitarian record of Muslim nations again?

If we're pouring our money into a country, use our military to restore order, bring in our health care workers to care for the sick and injured, shouldn't we be in charge of how that money gets spent? Our government is gung ho to tell our banks what they can and can't do while they owe TARP funds ("As long as you're under my roof, you'll live by my rules!") but we won't do the same when it comes to spending our relief funds. We have millions of people out of work, many of which are idled construction workers. Should not our money be spent putting our people to work? And if our people are the ones working, shouldn't we be directing them? Our money, our rules.

Of course I could be wrong.

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