Sunday, January 24, 2010

Let's be accurate

So some of my FB friends are posting this new "copy and paste if you have the guts" statement. It goes like this:

"Shame on you America" the only country where we have homeless without shelter, children going to bed without eating, elderly going without needed meds, and mentally ill without treatment - yet we have a benefit for the people of Haiti on 12 TV stations. 99% of people won't have the guts to copy and repost this!

Well, that gives me hope - the part about 99% of people not reposting. Shows that 99% of people know better. Now, full disclosure, I am Definitely Not a diehard American patriot. I am more than happy to criticize if I think criticism is deserved. But seriously... "the only country"....? Deliver me. I am curious about the person who came up with this in the first place. How many countries have they lived in? Have they EVER been outside the United States? I doubt it. Which means they know NOTHING about conditions in other countries. Have you noticed people aren't flocking OUT of this country, they are flocking IN. I wonder if that should tell us something?

That said, of course this country has problems. Health care has Serious problems - I don't think anyone in their right mind denies that. And no one should have to choose between medicine and food, for sure. But I would like to know this: How many people really starve to death in this country? Not "how many have poor diets," but how many actually starve to death? So let's go through the enlightened statement, bit by bit.

First, "the only country." That is ridiculous. As previously noted, somebody needs to get out more. Second, as for the homeless without shelter, yes, that's a huge problem. But we do have a lot of rescue missions, and if you can't stand the thought of listening to several sermons throughout the day while you eat and stay warm, well, I guess that is your choice. There is the Red Cross, Salvation Army, dial 211 for United Way, and also your local police. There are options at least, and in other places there often are none. Third, children going to bed hungry, yes, that is sad. Again, most will not starve to death or become seriously malnourished. The same cannot be said elsewhere. In Asuncion - which is MUCH better than some places - I used to see 5- or 6-year-olds carting their younger siblings through the streets begging. Thin kids. In other places you have preteen girls working as prostitutes to feed themselves. Fourth, as for elderly without meds, the very fact that this is seen as a PROBLEM here is a major difference between the U.S. and other countries. The old Ayore didn't even have the OPTION of long-term medications, except maybe for blood pressure, and they sure as heck didn't have the government paying for it. They are just expected to die. And fifth, regarding the mentally ill - in many places they just get made fun of, mistreated, generally taken advantage of. Treatment? Yeah... If they DID get treatment, it would be in an asylum, and don't even get me started on that one.

So, my point is just... There are Many problems here, a Lot of things need to improve, but it is just UNTRUE to say that this is the "only country" with these issues. Should we take care of our own first? Yes - but don't begrudge the Haitian earthquake victims the aid they are getting.

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