No time for a vote when lives are at stake

Feb 5th, 2010 | By | Category: Columns, Featured Articles, Opinions

by Victoria Branch

Haiti. It’s all over the papers, the news, and the internet. You don’t need to hear any more stories about what’s going on, what you need to do, or how you can help.

You’ve heard it all already, and are probably getting a little sick of having it thrown in your face constantly. That’s not what this article is about.

A man searches for his belongings in a restaurant in Haiti after a major earthquake caused massive damage to Port au Prince, Haiti, on Jan. 12. Photo courtesy Marco Dormino/United Nations

Instead, I would like to take to task an opinion article written by Gabriel McLaughlin published Jan. 19 in Missouri State’s The Standard. In it, McLaughlin questions whether taxpayer resources should be given to Haiti without the citizens voting on it and whether we should even maintain our relationship with Haiti at all.

I’m sorry, but what? I couldn’t believe I was actually reading the words printed there.

The author compares the aid to Haiti to America’s past experiences with “propping up other governments.”

Now, let me get to the heart of the issue. This is real life. There are human beings. Dying. Daily. People who are just trying to live their lives as best they can, who share the same ground as we do.

If something of this magnitude happened in our country, we would be outraged if another nation as rich as ours (or nearly) decided to take a vote on whether we should receive aid. I’m sorry, but McLaughlin needs to take another look at our system of government.

The length of time it takes for a bill to be passed is staggering. At this very moment people are dying of heat exhaustion and starvation and lack of water there. They needed help weeks ago, not in two years.

McLaughlin says we need to focus on our own country right now, seeing as we’re in an economic slump.

Well, I have a thought: instead of jumping on a cause that’s saving lives, why not talk about corporate bailouts, the healthcare reform laws and other countless pork-barrel policies running rampant through Congress?

We are the richest nation in the world. Think about the magnitude of that statement – there are seven billion citizens of our planet.

People in America throw away pounds of food daily, when the majority of people in the world don’t have enough to eat for each meal.

We don’t have the option to be selfish in this situation. Lives are at stake. I just hope more people start caring.

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