This arrived in my mailbox this morning, in response to my Open Letter. If you thought the voodoo comic was in poor taste, or offensive, try THIS on for size.
(No, it’s not going to be funny.)
(Name and email address withheld)
Well, I liked (the voodoo comic), but to be perfectly honest, I’ve not donated and I’m not likely to – not that I don’t doubt for a moment that people are suffering and even dying in New Orleans, but I really feel that one of the richest countries in the world, dealing with a disaster which was predicted in detail and which in theory has been rehearsed for should manage quite well without the pitiful amount I could spare.
If “they” (i.e. the US govt.) can’t manage to sort it expeditiously, then perhaps there’s been too much emphasis on “pacifying” Iraq and a bit too little on domestic matters. The figures for the amount of money spent by the US govt. and indeed our govt. over here on that are truly unbelievable, and it’s recently been alleged that the budget for maintinaing and repairing the mississippi levees has been cut…
I gather that a fair number of the National Guard are in Iraq at present, which presumably leaves a shortage for such things as rebuilding road and bridges, keeping order and generally solving disasters on home ground.
I feel mostly for the people from places like New Orleans who can’t afford a car and thus don’t have an easy escape when disaster looms – these people have been badly let down, IMHO.
I responded as follows:
It sounds like you’re saying that the GOVERNMENT of a “wealthy” nation should be the only entity reqired to help the unfortunate of that nation.
I personally find this thought offensive. Prosperity is ours only so long as we use it responsibly. If we as INDIVIDUALS are unwilling to help those in need, our prosperity will soon be gone, eroded in selfish squanderings that are the natural outgrowth of personal greed. It’s fair to argue that the government does not spend its money wisely, but withholding our help as individuals will put the blood of the innocent on OUR hands.
I’m not going to tell you how to spend your money. If you give not because you have not, you’re blameless. If you give not because you think the government is to blame and needs to be punished, you’re evil. It’s not your job to punish the government — especially not by allowing your fellow-citizens to die.
Sorry, I’m just calling ’em like I see ’em.
Note: I don’t disagree that the government has let these people down. I don’t necessarily agree with how the War on Terror has been prosecuted, and certainly not on all points. But that’s irrelevant. Withholding your surplus so that the deaths of your fellow-citizens can become political commentary about domestic policy is EVIL, and there are no two ways about it.