Thursday, January 14, 2010

When Words Fail, It's Time to Shut Up and Help Out

One of my greatest peeves is when people leverage human suffering to score political points. Well, it's more than a peeve. I find it nauseating, inappropriate, tasteless, grossly lacking in compassion and well, tacky. I also find it sadly and heartbreakingly human.

When tragedy struck Virginia Tech, both the pro-gun and anti-gun lobbies had their say within hours. Over the last two days, I've heard griping against Pat Robertson (seriously, the man is and always has been a ridiculous douche, so why give him any more of our attention?), the bottled water industry, building codes, the Obama administration, and more. In the face of unimaginable human suffering, the first instinct is to make sense of it all, find fault with someone or something, put it all in a box and move on. I'm human too, and I understand the desire to want someone to blame.

Meanwhile, the people of Port-au-Prince are digging their dead children out of the rubble with their bare hands. Now is not the time to score points. Now is the time to rise above our first instincts, abandon our anger, and help.

My wish is simple. Every time you feel like taking a swipe, taking a stand, climbing a soapbox or mindlessly bitching, get out your phone. Text the word, "HAITI" to 90999. That sends $10 to the Red Cross and will automatically be added to your next cellphone bill. Think of it as a swear jar that actually does some good.

Every little bit helps, no petty indignation required. Please, I pray of you, think about it.

Postscript: According to the Red Cross' blog, they've already raised $3 million dollars, one $10 text message at a time.


Brando said...

It would be nice for a change after a disaster to hear the pundits and partisans on TV or elsewhere simply say "this was awful, I feel for those suffering. Let's figure out how to help!" Instead, we get the "OMG, OBAMA SUX FTW!" or "Chimpy McBushitler caused all this with his Global Warming!!!" Disasters bring out both the best and worst in people.

Dagny Taggart said...

I did this, and it is *so* easy. Apparently, Verizon and another carrier (Sprint, I think?) have waived the text message fee for this (the overlords at AT&T are still charging me, but it's totally worth it).

You should get a reply text asking you to confirm your donation, and then another one once it's definitely gone through.

Thanks for sharing!

Alex said...

Shannon, well said!

Shannon said...

Brando - I think a big part of the problem is the 24 hour news cycle - all those news channels have a ton of air to fill, and eventually they run out of real news to report. So instead they fill time by opinion-barfing.

Dagny - You're welcome! And you're right, it was really easy to do.

Alex- Thanks!

bh said...

I sent money to Docters without Borders, as they are my goto charity for this scale of human disaster, but that's just a personal preferance. I hope everyone will skip a happy hour next week and send the money instead to a relief organization. Thanks for this post, Shannon.

[F]oxymoron said...

Well said! I'll [F]ucking drink to that...

... ok, I'll just fill up my swear jar, again - I also donated to the Red Cross via phone. You know, I'm really astounded with the way tech is being leveraged during this scenario. I'm even more astounded with the response of people around the world.

Titania said...

Amen, sister!

Dratski! said...

My thoughts exactly, though couldn't have put it nearly so eloquently. Thanks for the reminder to send some more (instead of messing with my blog!). I also like Doctors Without Borders