Monday, January 18, 2010

It is time to open our hearts and our pocketbooks and yes, our shores

The Bride of Rove and I both live in South Florida, she much further south than I.  When news of the earthquake broke, she and I knew what was coming:

I figure we have about a week — maybe two before the first ships arrive. So. Gather clothes, blankets, brush up on some French and Creole. I’m sure our own Haitian community is already organizing and making arrangements. In short, get ready. Company is coming and I guarantee you they are hungry, tired and in some serious need of American style TLC.
It is what it is and we will literally take the good with the bad.  Now is not the time to worry about that.  Now is the time to open our hearts and take in people who simply have nowhere else to go.  I am a "closed border" person, but not this time.  Apparently not everyone feels as I do.  Little Miss Attila has gotten grief on the subject and she responds quite nicely:

I assume that there will now be a series of comments from bitter, used-up people who want to explain to me that the United States is a remarkably fragile place, and if anyone who came here for emergency medical treatment were to wrangle a way of staying here permanently, it would bring this entire nation right to its knees. My readers are divided on the issue of orphans such as these kids in Port au Prince being granted visas (one commenter suggests the age of 12, helpfully, as a cutoff), but many are terribly opposed to any adults being cared for in this country, because they might overstay any visas granted to them for medical care, and then they would bring their twisted ethics into this country of 280,000,000 or whatever. Then they would infect us with TB, which our hospitals simply aren’t prepared to screen for.

Of course, medical visas may not even be necessary, with a second American hospital ship on its way to Haiti; those who were evacuated from the island to be cared for on our soil were primarily American citizens, after all. No word, though, on whether these Americans had, while on the island, caught the social pathologies, the potential TB, or the bad attitudes of the Haitians, or whether they had picked up that most deadly of all physical and psychological ailments: Caribbean cooties, which we must ever be on the lookout for.

I realize that my soft-heartedness may have blinded me to the danger of Caribbean cooties, and I apologize for the fact that my emotions clearly got in the way of my analysis. Thank you for helping me think more clearly, folks.
Look, there will be things that go wrong with the influx of Haitians.  Those of us in Florida have been down this road before.  But there is so much good that we can do and we can't allow fear, both rational and irrational, to determine how we react.  We aren't talking about hypotheticals, we are talking about lives.

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