Yesterday, while checking posts on my social media, Facebook did a pop-up that hit my angry button, and I fired off this post:
Facebook just asked me to donate to help Nepal. Did Nepal send any money to help after Katrina?
I think not.
Apparently, that struck a nerve with my friends, because I received a number of startled responses, beginning with one that said, tentatively, “umm…you know that Nepal is actually pretty dirt poor, right?” and continuing with some from people who know me less well “And if people only helped those who helped them first, then no one would ever get help. It has to start somewhere.” It continued with some posts that ranged from faintly accusatory to concerned to humorous: “Loving one’s fellow-man should never start with “what’s in it for me?” Not ever.” and “That does not sound like the Warjna that I know. Did you hit your head? Do you have encephalitis? Were you hacked?” and “I’m going with hacked for $200, Alex, er, Alan….”
At that point I realized what I had done, and decided I should explain. I posted the following, and I’m posting it here as well in hopes that my point will continue to resonate and put out positive vibes of education:
Sorry. Perhaps I should explain.
First off, yes, I know that Nepal is dirt poor. That comment was sarcasm.
Second, I have no real problem with helping others in disasters. I do that myself when I can, whether it is donating to the Red Cross or reaching out a hand to someone in a parking lot.
What I do have a problem with, and I have said this in my posts time and time again, is that we Americans _as_a_culture_ tend to open our purses for every other nation on the planet, and fail to help our own.
Are you aware that there were people still living in FEMA trailers more than FIVE YEARS after Katrina? That there are people in New Orleans and the surrounding areas today that still have no homes of their own?
We’re all “Let’s send money to Nepal,” “Little children are starving in Africa,” “Japan had a tsunami,” and all the other disasters, when there are little children starving right here in America. When there are veterans living on the streets–if you can call that living. When people with mental illnesses are turned out of hospitals and treatment centers because there is just no money to help them.
Isn’t that a disaster?
I’m not saying we shouldn’t send money to help others outside our borders. I’m just saying we should be sending equal amounts to help people here at home. But there is a stigma to being poor in America that we don’t attach to the poor elsewhere, and that is a shame and a crime. That somehow the poor of America did it to themselves by being lazy and unworthy, and therefor don’t deserve help.
Perhaps I’m a bit touchy on this subject, because it hits close to home. I know some of those people in New Orleans. I have–or had–friends there, some of whom had to leave their beloved homeland and go elsewhere just to find a job and a home. And I have other friends right here in River City who asked to borrow a tent so they could camp out somewhere, because they had no job and no money.
But if anyone is offended by my words then perhaps they should stop and really think about why they are offended. Perhaps it is because my words hit too close for comfort.
Am I wrong, thinking like this? I don’t think I am.
To the one who told me, “And if people only helped those who helped them first, then no one would ever get help. It has to start somewhere,” I’d like to point out that America has been sending aid overseas for a hundred years or more. We have been sending help first. Where is our help, when we won’t even help ourselves?
To the one who said, “Loving one’s fellow-man should never start with “what’s in it for me?” Not ever.” You’re right, it shouldn’t. And that’s not what I said, and it’s not what I’m saying. I’m not even really asking those nations who have been helped by us to help us now. I’m asking US to help us. I’m not even asking us to help us FIRST, I’m just asking us to help US. And it would be nice if we did so in at least some proportion to what we send out.
The comment about this not sounding like the Warjna he knew–that was a sincere note of concern. And he was right, sort of. I usually manage to edit and filter so that my comments don’t come off the way it did. He’s used to more like the rest of this post. Sorry for scaring you, brother.
“…hacked for $200, Alex, er, Alan….” Good one!
*sigh* End of rant. Wish it was the end of the problem.