I planned to write a light-hearted post for today. But, it’s difficult to spin a frivolous tale on the day you pick up the newspaper and read painful estimates on the loss of life and homes caused by an event you’ve tried hard to deny. I’m not insensitive to disasters, but I’m prone to depression. I slide easily into hopelessness if I stay too long in a story where hope is hard to find.
Still, I couldn’t overlook the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s front page today. In the print version of the paper, a large photo (found online here – it takes a second to upload) from the associated press shows hundreds of people sitting on a cargo plane flying from Port-au-Prince to Orlando.
This morning, I scanned the faces. A young man sits next to a younger boy, and they are held together by a strap. Maybe it’s a seat belt, or a tether so neither get lost in the mass of wandering victims. A mother sits in the front looking down at two young boys. As both boys sleep on her lap, her hand graces the face of one.
I wonder what they dream about.
Hundreds of people crowded into the belly of a cargo plane, fleeing calamity with just the clothes on their back.
On today’s front page of the Local section in the Journal, a column written by Eugene Kane continues the discussion on Haiti. Though not directly related to the hundreds loaded on the cargo plane, Mr. Kane’s words* hone in on another block these refugees face as they wait for aid: US politics.
When Eugene Kane – a regular columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel – writes, he shoots from the hip. He doesn’t mince words, and that’s one reason why I love to, and need to, read his articles.
Today, he spotlights appalling comments made by Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson, observations that have little to do with the human factor and ignore the popular adage “what would Jesus do?”
Mr. Kane quotes Rush Limbaugh: “We’ve already donated to Haiti. It’s called the U.S. income tax.”
Mr. Kane reiterates the un-Christian-like brush-off in Pat Robertson’s recent comments about why the earthquake struck Haiti instead of, say, Virginia Beach: because “[the people of Haiti] got together and swore a pact to the devil” (Time.com, January 14, 2010).
I said it in a previous post: I’m not much of an activist. But, I’m a good listener. Today, I heard a message from Mr. Kane that demands propagation:
“There’s too much at stake to let Haiti turn into one of those silly red state/blue state issues that have people in different camps screaming at each other. All you really need to know about Haiti is that people are struggling to survive in a country where life was already pretty hard to deal with each day….”
Donate dollars if you can. If you can’t, use words. There’s power in spreading awareness. And, there’s power in prayer – for the leaders of our country and the victims who depend on them.
* Kane, Eugene. “Haiti quake shouldn’t start political rift.” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online. Web. January 19, 2010. http://www.jsonline.com