Friday, January 15, 2010


In the middle of the horrible news about Haiti--and sadly, that phrase could be written at almost any point during the past four hundred years--we're able to get some choice quotes from various pundits. First, we hear Pat Robertson blame the Haitians for making a "pact with the devil". I've gotten to the point where I can't even get disgusted by anything Robertson says anymore, I just feel sorry for him because I think he's lost his mind. He really needs help. Then of course Rush Limbaugh felt like it had been too long since he said something insensitive and rotten, and put in his two cents claiming that we shouldn't make donations to the Red Cross to help the Haitians because we've already paid that country enough foreign aid. Maybe on some level he was trying for a laugh, but it fell flat and was in really poor taste.

Taking the absurdity of the comments of these two men at face value, we can see the basic point--Haiti is and long has been a complete mess. It is the poorest country among a neighborhood of poor countries, and its history has been slavery (under arguably worse conditions than U.S. slavery was at the time) and colonialism, followed by corruption, dictatorships and violence. It's hard to imagine what, if anything, could turn that country around.

That said, this is an instance where American aid and logistical support (such as through our military) can restore order and save lives on a large scale. The country--which was in bad shape even before the earthquake--has practically ceased to exist, with no infrastructure or organization whatsoever. (There were reports of aid arriving by boat but with no one at the docks to unload it) In the short term, at least, it seems that providing aid is a no-brainer. Whether we're involved for a longer period is what's up for debate.

And what's with right-wing pundits these days? Bad enough that the Democrats are flopping around like a fish in a rowboat, the way they're handling health care, banking and the economy. Do we really need the right to be completely insane?

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