(Feature Image above from Vox.com)
One of the most amazing and heartwarming things about tragedy is when communities come together to help each other. Whether it’s a natural disaster, an act of terror, or just a horrible accident or catastrophic illness, complete strangers come to the aid of each other for no other reason than to help. They lift each other up spiritually and provide emotional or financial support. They risk their own lives to save another. They feed, clothe, and shelter each other. They show compassion in the wake of tragedy and loss. When humans come together to help each other out, my faith in humanity is restored.
Then it seems there’s always some asshole out there who ruins it. Whether it is a multi-millionaire avoiding the possibility of having to give back to his community or share any of his wealth because he’s a selfish prick who only stepped up after being publicly shamed, or an egomaniac world leader who uses the plight of others as a stage for self-congratulatory posturing to make the tragic scene in front of him all about himself, or some bat-shit crazy woman who spews stupidity, lies, and vile hate from her mouth in a way that has me wondering if she is even a real person. Not only is the selfishness and lack of compassion appalling, the sheer stupidity of what comes from their mouths is mind-boggling. I honestly don’t understand how anyone this stupid could still be alive. You would think ignorance at this level would cause them to forget to feed themselves, or to step out in traffic and get run over.
I have no time and no patience for the likes of Joel Osteen, Donald Trump, or Ann Coulter. And I have no time for folks who defend their behavior (go ahead and de-friend me if you must).
“But he DID open the doors of his multi-million dollar church to use as a shelter.”
Only after being publicly shamed and forced to come up with some half-baked stories to cover his multi-million dollar lying butt.
“But he and Melania ARE there, showing support.”
How about they roll up their sleeves, put on some boots, and wade through murky waters with debris and snakes and who-knows-what kind of bacteria floating around so they can rescue some folks instead of hosting a pep rally. In stilettos.
“But she didn’t ACTUALLY say that God sent the flood because of the lesbian mayor.”
I don’t even need to address this because no one actually defends Ann Coulter, do they???
I would say they should all be ashamed of their behavior, but that would suggest that they have moral compasses. None of these folks has any idea what it is like to lose everything from homes to loved ones, or to be displaced and frightened with nowhere to go. None of them know what it’s like to work 24 hour shifts in miserable conditions, trying to save lives. I don’t know what that’s like either, but I have compassion and empathy and I can put aside my first world problems for a bit to try to imagine what it would be like to walk in their shoes, through murky debris-filled water. The fact that my housekeeper was a no-show today seems petty and trivial, considering I actually have a house that hasn’t been washed away and everything I need (and a lot of stuff that I don’t need) is in it. Looking at the weather maps and seeing that my Labor Day vacation at the beach will probably be rainy this weekend doesn’t matter, because a little rain on vacation isn’t going to wash away a lifetime of memories and all my belongings and leave me homeless.
So, thank you to the likes of JJ Watt and Ellen Degeneres and other celebrities for giving generously and without hesitation and challenging others to do so as well.
Thank you to the first responders who put their lives on the line and tirelessly work long shifts without sleep, because that’s what they do.
Thank you to organizations like the Red Cross, United Way, Americares, and hundreds of others who are there to help shelter and feed and provide medical and financial assistance to the victims.
Thank you to neighbors looking out for neighbors. Because that’s what neighbors do.
Thank you to those of us who cannot help in any other way but to donate money and hope that it helps in some way.
Thank you to the folks who, through faith, pray that this will all be ok.
Thankfully, the Osteens and Trumps and Coulters of the world are few and far between. Because if most people were like them, it would be a very sad and lonely world.
Not sure how to help? NPR provides a list of charitable organizations you can donate to. Also, check out Charity Navigator to find charities you can support AND trust. And, check out the crowdfunding You Caring page set up by JJ Watt.