So when news came of Tuesday's magnitude 7 earthquake in Haiti, it struck me deeply. As if something terrible had happened in my home. Follow that with a call from a close friend of mine in Georgia, her husband was wrapping up a contract position in Port-au-Prince. She heard from him once early Wednesday when he called to say that he was trapped in some rubble, thirsty but otherwise okay. She hasn't heard from him or anyone in his company since. That makes it personal. I was there when they met. I just sent cute BougieGear to their four year old. When she called and asked me to pray for them; I felt helpless that there was little more I could do.
The stories and images coming out of Haiti are horrific even apocalyptic in scope and nature. I honestly don't understand how any human being could bear witness to this tragedy and feel anything but empathy and a call to service. Why is it when brown people suffer, someone has to cut a fool? (Katrina flashback) And yet, a minister and a talk show host did just that, publicly. Pat Robertson said Haiti has been "cursed" because of what he called a "pact with the devil" in its history. His spokesman said the comments were based on Voodoo rituals carried out before a slave rebellion against French colonists in 1791.
Adding insult to injury, on his radio program Wednesday morning, Rush Limbaugh said that President Barack Obama and company would use Haiti to get closer to the "light-skinned and dark-skinned black [communities] in this country" while adding that the U.S. has "already donated to Haiti. It's called the U.S. income tax."
I really should be at the point where I'm not longer stunned by anything so-called "political pundits" say but at some point, I believe we need a line in the sand. I do not believe that you can continue to say outlandish inflammatory things for the sake of ratings. Sure, sure – first Amendment and all that but seriously, they both need to STFU before someone decides to help them do just that. I joke about Limbaugh being Beelzebub's minion but um… he keeps proving me right.
The White House responded today with the following:
"It never ceases to amaze me that in times of amazing human suffering somebody says something that can be so utterly stupid," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.
White House advisor Valerie Jarrett said she was "speechless" over Pat Robertson's comments. "I thought it was a pretty stunning comment to make.
But my favorite response came from Keith Olbermann, who used his Comment Moment on Countdown to respond succinctly:
Commentary and opinions aside, Haiti needs help. There is a button on my sidebar to contribute to Yele, an organization founded by Wyclef Jean. You can text YELE to 501501 to donate $5.00, that's a mocha ya'll. For the purist, you can text HAITI to 90999 to donate $10 to the Red Cross. President Obama also has an updated site for suggestion on how to assist. Listen up, bitching about it gets us nowhere. A whole lot of talking and typing just leads to hot air. Food, water and clothing drives are sprouting up all across the country. If you do NOTHING else this year… do this. Help Haiti.
Thoughts? Comments? Other ways to help?