As we enter February of 2010, I have begun to look within, assessing this country’s priorities- and doing so almost in spite of myself. We are on the heels of a catastrophic natural disaster in Haiti, we are fighting two wars in the Middle East, and of course, Black History Month is upon us.
It is timely to think of Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous quote, “Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal”.
Wherever we look, it seems, we see unrest. We see the very opposite of King’s definition of peace, even as we pride ourselves as a nation of fantastically generous, loving people.
Conservatives throughout the country are constantly reminding us that they both ended slavery and passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, among other things. We find ourselves yelling, “YEAH!” when Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh take the time to remind us- again- that WE ARE A NATION OF CHRISTIANS…
… And yet, I’m not buying it.
I am reminded of Pat Robertson- ironically, both conservative and “Christian” himself- claiming the Haitians brought this unfathomable catastrophe upon themselves, after their alleged “pact with the devil” when securing their freedom from the French.
I guess the U.S. is the only nation worthy of fighting for her independence.
I am reminded of Rush Limbaugh’s statements after the earthquake, telling Americans not to bother sending money to Haiti. Limbaugh, another conservative “Christian”, tells his followers, “We’ve already donated to Haiti. It’s called US Income Tax”.
This, my friends, is not what Dr. King was referring to when he was speaking of peace, and it certainly is nothing close to reminiscent of Jesus Christ.
The means, the choices we are making, are not conducive to peace. They are not Christ-like, and our priorities have become horribly skewed.
More than a million Haitians have been displaced as a result of the earthquake. They are homeless, they are hungry, and the rains and hurricanes are approaching. More than half a milIlion have already died.
It isn’t that we aren’t helping- the United States government, for example, has promised $100 million in aid to Haiti thus far.
That sounds like an enormous sum of money…
… until we put it in perspective.
According to the New York Times, the U.S. has spent $7.5 billion on missile defense this year.
$150 million of that was spent solely one single failed test.
Humans are dying in Haiti and elsewhere.
Children- little people who were perhaps destined to become the next generation’s great teachers, politicians, mathematicians, artists and musicians- are dead.
Millions more are at risk.
Missile defense is a series of tests based on hypothetical threats to the U.S.
There is nothing hypothetical about Haiti.
Haiti is real.
Haiti is NOW.
Dr. King would be ashamed of us… and I am too.