Saturday, January 16, 2010

Horrific Calamity, Honorable Conduct in Hispaniola While Back in Virginia Beach...

The news coming out of Haiti this past week has truly been horrific. The tiny, impoverished (lowest per capita income in the Western Hemisphere) island located on the Western half of the island of Hispaniola, an island it shares with its eastern neighbor, the Dominican Republic. Latest reports estimate that the 7.0 earthquake has killed perhaps as many as 75-100,000 people.

It has now been a little more than three days since the disaster struck and although there are a handful of reports of violence or looting starting to trickle in, the vast majority of the reports are truly humbling as the Haitian people have responded with self-reliance and dignity. Equally impressive has been, with at least one notable exception, the response of the wealthy nations, most notably, of course, the United States, whose people, NGO's and charities have raised a staggering $400 million dollars in 72 hours.

Now back to that notable, abominable exception. It comes from none other than a leading spokesman for the conservative right, cuckoo wing, of the Republican Party, the irReverend Pat Robertson. Just like after 911, Pastor Pat, a man who does not have the slightest clue as to what it means to be a Christian, lashed out at the victim, implying his perverted concept of God's divine retribution.

"They said, we will serve you if you will get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it's a deal," the televangelist said during the broadcast."

"Ever since, they have been cursed by one thing after the other," in contrast, he went on, comparing Haiti to its more wealthy and fortunate neighbor, the Dominican Republic.

As despicable as the idiotic comments coming out of Virgina Beach are, there is always Rush Limbaugh. Never one to be left out of the running for the "Stupidest Thing Ever Said Contest", Limbaugh is quoted as saying that President Obama was using the tragedy to “boost his creditability with the black community” and said that we already donate U.S taxpayer dollars to Haiti. Spoken like a true role model for his myopic minions in the Tea Bagger Party who want to derail health care reform to most likely their own and the country's detriment.

In actuality, the Obama Administration has handled the matter just about right. Led correctly by its civilian face in the form of the U.S. Ambassador to Haiti and Secretary of State Clinton, the U.S. has taken control of the airport and airspace due to the heavy demands on flight control. Former Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush have been named to lead the U.S. humanitarian response. The far more tricky job is yet to come: that of monitoring the expenditure of aid money to prevent the fraud and corruption that has been the hallmark of Haitian Governments of the past century. Hopefully this time the United Nations, the wealthy nations, the myriad of NGO's and charitable organizations and most importantly, the Haitian People will get it right. May God Bless Them.

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