Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Let's NOT Make Haiti the 'Cause du Jour'

Haiti needs many things but false benevolence is not one of them.

There are many of us here in the United States who are learning about Haiti for the very first time. There is really no excuse for this ignorance, but I think of it simply as the privilege of arrogance and global indifference that comes with being a natural American citizen. We only focus on developing countries on a need to know basis--do they have something that the U.S. wants or needs? Then, we need to know them. If a country has nothing we need or want, why should we know them--especially if they're poor?
Haiti has experienced an earthquake of catastrophic proportions resulting in thousands of lost lives, unaccounted for loved ones, and demolition of buildings--including really important ones like hospitals. We have learned that Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The earthquake did not cause their abject poverty. There are many non-governmental organizations who advocate and fund raise on behalf of the citizens and causes of Haiti--year in and year out. This is not vogue or chic.
Won't you search your hearts as you decide to get involved in immediate disaster response for Haiti? Are you giving donations or soliciting funds on behalf of Haiti because your heart tells you to intervene or has the media presented a compelling reason why you should give? Are you giving because you want feel to superior to the people of Haiti (to whom much is given much required--yeah, right) or do you share in their pain? And finally, are you giving because you want others to know how generous you can be? Don't do the right thing for the wrong reason.

Remember, when the cameras leave the island, the people of Haiti will still live in the poorest of nations. Is what you are deciding to contribute to this cause going to help propel them into a life of eventual self-sufficiency? Or do you want to simply apply a bandage to a wound that needs major surgery. Don't let Haiti be a 'cause du jour'--that is, the chic thing to do at the moment.

Reid and Obama Squash Beef...

President Obama does not major in minors. And he knew how to squash a potential silly beef before it started with one of his Democratic colleagues.
.S. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid apologized on Saturday, January 8th for saying the race of Barack Obama – whom he described as a “light skinned” African-American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one” – would help rather than hurt his eventual presidential bid.

President Obama accepted Senator Reid's apology--period.

This statement was revealed in a just released book, "Game Change" by Mark Halperin. It is a look at the nuances of the 2008 presidential campaign.

What could have caused a stir, was a few revelations in the book that described statements by Hillary Clinton and her husband, Bill Clinton--both currently employed by the Obama administration in key positions. One statement that I was particularly perturbed by was the following:

– Former president Bill Clinton's efforts to persuade Senator Edward M. Kennedy to endorse his wife's presidential bid fell flat when Mr. Clinton told the Democratic lawmaker that "just a few years ago, Mr. Obama would have been serving the pair coffee." What did President Clinton mean by this? I'll bet if I sought the wisdom of President Jimmy Carter he'd be able to tell me.

Ringo Starr turns 70 in 2010

Seems like only yesterday it was 1964 and I was a six year old singing along with everybody else in America, "She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah". I had full fledged Beatlemania and a huge crush on the band's drummer, Ringo Starr. Today I am 52 and Ringo Starr is 70!

Ringo, whose birthday is July 7, plans to mark it by flashing a two-fingered peace sign at noon and playing an evening gig at Radio City Music Hall as part of a summer tour with his latest All-Starr band. Currently, he is on a promotional tour for his 15th solo album, Y Not.

Starr, a longtime vegetarian looks to be in his late 50s, dresses sharp and still has his great sense of humor. Let me be the first to say, Happy Birthday, Ringo!