Archive for Thursday, January 21, 2010

Comments show inhumanity on Haiti

January 21, 2010


As babies were being pulled, crushed and broken, from the rubble.

As people lay writhing on cardboard mats, gashed and moaning under the sun.

As families placed their loved ones out at the curb for pick-up, like garbage.

As Haiti reeled and staggered and the rest of the world rushed to the aid of a humble, beleaguered people, two icons of American conservatism reared up last week and offered analyses of the earthquake that has devastated the impoverished island nation. The Rev. Pat Robertson opined on his program, “The 700 Club,” that Haiti’s woes stem from the fact that it made a deal with the devil two centuries ago and now is “cursed.” Rush Limbaugh suggested the relief effort would “play right into” President Obama’s hands, allowing him to appear “humanitarian, compassionate” and thus, “burnish” his standing within the African-American community.

It left me wondering, just for the briefest of seconds, whether conservatism has a conscience, whether conservatism has a soul.

Yes, you’re right. It is a fundamentally unfair question, if only because conservatives like columnist Kathleen Parker and TV personality Elisabeth Hasselbeck of “The View” promptly took the men to task.

And yet, by the same token: this is hardly the first time this has happened. To the contrary, it has become routine that after disasters both natural and human, icons of conservatism spout hateful, hurtful, cynical words, words that belittle the victims and trivialize the suffering.

As in Neal Boortz blaming the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina on the “worthless parasites” who lived in New Orleans.

As in Michael Savage reportedly saying the United States should not send “one nickel” of aid to South Asia when a tsunami killed 226,000 people because it is “a hotbed of radical Islam.”

As in Jerry Falwell blaming the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that took 3,000 lives on gays, feminism, abortion and the ACLU.

And if it is unfair to question conservatism’s possession of conscience and soul, perhaps one can be forgiven for simply wondering what is this weird reflex, this bizarre tic, that seems to repeatedly compel its most high-profile adherents to victimize victims. Social conservatives — we know this, because they tell us repeatedly — are righteous people, people gifted with a higher morality than the ordinary run of human beings.

But one sees little of that great-heartedness in the aftermath of tragedy. Great-heartedness, after all, would include compassion for people suffering and bereft — and “preclude” ad hominem assaults on the vulnerable and helpless.

Apparently, some of us are so estranged from their very humanity, so besotted with their own righteousness, so deeply, damnably smug, self-centered, small and mean, that there is nothing — not the wail of orphan children, not the stink of rotting flesh, not death tolls that stagger imagining — they will not reduce to cheap morality plays to further their cultural and political agendas. Tens of thousands of people are dead in the poorest place in the western hemisphere and the preacher asks: How can that be used to buttress my vision of a vengeful, angry God? Relief is being rushed to the island as fast as humanly possible and the bloviator wonders: How can that be used to belittle Barack Obama?

Apparently, there’s never a timeout, never a pause button, never a moment when they remember to simply behave like human beings. A human being, faced with calamity on this scale, says, Oh, my God. A human being says, Those poor people. A human being says, What can I do to help?

But the Limbaughs and Robertsons of the world say some variation of, God hates you. Or, You had it coming. They call that conservative.

I call it obscene.


Brent Garner 8 years, 4 months ago

Mr. Pitts, Mr. Limbaugh was right. To quote Rahm Emanuel, "Never let a crisis go to waste." As the election of Scott Brown shows, Americans are very angry with this president. They don't like where he wants to go. Consequently, they are suspicious of everything he does which includes the Haiti situation. So, get down off your high horse, sir, and face reality.

Another fact you seem to want to ignore is that the US and others have poured nearly $6 billion in aid into Haiti and most of that was since 2000. With that kind of aid one should ask where the infrastructure is? Where are the new businesses, the new industries? There are none. Why? Because each successive Haitian government has been more concerned about siphoning off the aid and putting it in their own pockets! The Haitian people have been the victims of not just this devastating earthquake but a long successive list of thugs, thieves, and criminals as leaders. Haiti cannot improve until that problem is eliminated!

rbwaa 8 years, 4 months ago

so you're condoning the comments of robertson and limbaugh...

Matt Schwartz 8 years, 4 months ago

hey brent, haiti's infrastructure just got crushed you idiot.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years, 4 months ago

Read the column again, BK, and while you do so, keep in mind that it applies very clearly to you, you freak.

Richard Heckler 8 years, 4 months ago

The new republican party of the last 30 years has taken on some strange thinking I must say. Jerry Falwell was proud and boastful about the fact that his party had taken over the republican party. It's been economic upheaval plus blood and guts ever since.

Looks something like this:

"Rebuilding America's Defences," openly advocates for total global military domination” (Very dangerous position which threatens OUR freedoms and the nations security)

Our aim is to remind Americans of these lessons and to draw their consequences for today. Here are four consequences:

• we need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global
responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;

• we need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to USA interests and values;

• we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;

• we need to accept responsibility for America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.

Meet the fundamentalist war mongers of PNAC: Elliott Abrams / Gary Bauer / William J. Bennett / Jeb Bush /

Dick Cheney / Eliot A. Cohen / Midge Decter / Paula Dobriansky / Steve Forbes /

Aaron Friedberg / Francis Fukuyama / Frank Gaffney / Fred C. Ikle /

Donald Kagan / Zalmay Khalilzad / I. Lewis Libby / Norman Podhoretz /

Dan Quayle / Peter W. Rodman / Stephen P. Rosen / Henry S. Rowen /

Donald Rumsfeld / Vin Weber / George Weigel / Paul Wolfowitz /

Behind the scene:

Newt Gingrich / George Herbert Walker Bush / James Baker / Vice Adm John Poindexter

BrianR 8 years, 4 months ago

"Mr. Pitts, Mr. Limbaugh was right."

Pure comedy.

Kirk Larson 8 years, 4 months ago

Compassionate conservative=oxymoron. Rush Limbaugh=big fat moron. Pat Robertson=hypocritical moron.

BrianR 8 years, 4 months ago

Looks like Glover was more flat out wrong than mean and hateful. Big difference.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 4 months ago

merrill, put down the copy/paste button. You're gonna wear it out this morning.

anon1958 8 years, 4 months ago

The comments from the local crackpots about earlier articles on the Haiti disaster are very much in tune with the hateful comments from Robertson et al.

However, many people that have conservative politics cannot and should not be lumped in with the local and national hate filled reactionaries.

I have many friends that are staunch Republicans and I would never assume that they have the hateful attitude and paranoid fears of the right wingnuts that post on this forum.

There are also people that post here with ideas so bizzare that they seem to have leaped directly out of Jung's diary. According to a recent post, Barrypenders thinks we are invading Haiti to steal their babies because the US Department of State expedited the visas for some children that had been approved for adoptive parents prior to the earthquake. I suppose barypenders and the other misanthropes would have preferred for the children to just rot in Haiti because obviously no paperwork is going to get done there any time soon.

Whether Barrypenders' posts conform to things that he actually believes in is not easy to tell. His theme of right wing reactionary paranoia and hate is just consistent enough to make me think that he is not crazy enough to not hold him responsible for what he says. My opinion is that he has the same kind of craziness that Pat Robertson has that truly sane humans find disgusting and repellant.

jaywalker 8 years, 4 months ago

Should'nt it be "Comments on Haiti show inhumanity" ?

acg 8 years, 4 months ago

Why do people keep crapping on the Haitians for their practice of voodoo? What the hell does that have to do with anything? The fact that they practice a different religion than a lot of you doesn't mean that they had a devastating earthquake coming to them. I get so tired of hearing people bring up voodoo in relation to this disaster. It's disgusting and it needs to stop. I can't stand all of those bible thumping talking head conservative crackpots. I get tired of people trying to cram their idea about God down one another's throats. Whoever or whatever God is, he/she is pissed at a lot of you.

acg 8 years, 4 months ago

All one of him? Are you living under a rock?

verity 8 years, 4 months ago

I suspect most of you have no idea what "voodoo" actually is.

Do some research before you spout stupidities.

Leslie Swearingen 8 years, 4 months ago

The earthquake was a natural phenomena. You need to know something of geology to understand how and why it happened. Nora Zeale Thurston did a lot of research on voodoo in Haiti and wrote some good books on this subject. The reality is far from what you see in movies. As a Catholic and a bible reader I have a great respect for the faith of others. I was taught that no one knows where someone else is on their faith journey so no one has a right to judge.

monkeyhawk 8 years, 4 months ago

Just a side note --- Where has the Obama peace prize money gone?

"The Nobel Committee has created a pretty little problem for White House counsel Greg Craig this morning. The value of the gift is $1.4 million. Technically, it’s a “Foreign Official Gift,” so it has to be retained by the U.S. government. Donating the money to charity will be very difficult, because first the gift will have to pass through the president’s hands -and the law requires that he must spend $1.4 million of his own money to buy the $1.4 million from the U.S. government." "We'll update with what charity or charities are the recipient of the President's prize winnings." 10-09-09 "With this in mind, when Al Gore won the prize (then $1.8 million) in 2007, he and his wife transferred it directly to the Alliance for Climate Change.

In 2002 Jimmy Carter won the peace prize and also bypassed his taxable income by funneling the money directly into two not-for-profits, the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia and the Rosalyn Carter Institute for Caregiving, at Georgia Southwestern University.

Martin Luther King Jr. donated his prize to the civil rights movement.

tomatogrower 8 years, 4 months ago

Cappy (Anonymous) says… Compassionate conservative=oxymoron. Rush Limbaugh=big fat moron. Pat Robertson=hypocritical moron.

Careful Cappy, you may be forced to apologize to his majesty, Rush I.

acg 8 years, 4 months ago

Oh I'm sorry 75x55, I misunderstood what you meant. In this LTE only one crackpot is referenced, true, but my comment was to say I'm tired of every religious crackpot who wraps themselves in a cloak of piousness in regards to everything. I'm tired of fanatical muslims, catholic kid touchers, fred and jerkoffs like robertson (u can include limbaugh, beck and o'reilly-even though they aren't too religious in their leanings). I'm tired of hearing "your God bad, my God good", I'm bored with it. I don't even want to hear anymore "The Lord works in mysterious ways, if it's God's will" or "the Lord will provide", that's how over it I am. I don't understand why people just can't leave one another alone about religion and respect each other's differences. It seems I've veered off my original issue and that was with people bashing on the Haitians for being into voodoo. It's bothering me. I've read on several blogs people who seem honest in their assumptions that this has something to do with the fact that they practice a different religion and then when blowhards like Robertson say the crap that he says it only reinforces the beliefs of the sheeple who buy into that nonsense. These sheeple vote and that's scary as hell.

MyName 8 years, 4 months ago

lol Arminius has a little Richard_Head now.


Mixolydian 8 years, 4 months ago

Pitts usually writes effectively on stereotypes based on race.

Of course it seems to be OK for him to stereotype based upon a political and economic world view (Conservatism)

It would be easy to write a column on liberals without a conscience and soul by collecting comments here and there and ascribing them to all liberals.

Or to do the same thing based on gender

or ethnicity

or come full circle for PItts….race

beawolf 8 years, 4 months ago

shomesomethin (Anonymous) says…

"All these celebrities are already organizing a benefit concert for the Haitian earthquake victims… now where the hell were they after Katrina"

Do a little research before you post ignorant comments. It was estimated that over one billion was raised to help Katrina victims. The LJW should have an "idiot" test before you're allowed to post. Here a just a few. It took five minutes to find. The Gospel Music Channel is put together a benefit concert for Hurricane Katrina victims on Friday, September 23, 2005 at Atlanta's Centennial Park. The New Yorker presented an evening of words and music from New Orleans and the Delta to benefit Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. Miami music community presented a Hurricane Katrina benefit concert at American Airlines Arena Sunday, September 25. Country Music Television (CMT) hosted a benefit concert for Hurricane Katrina victims Saturday, October 1, 2005.

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 4 months ago

Not only has conservatism lost its soul, it has lost its conservatism.

Like them or not, conservatives were once characterized by restraint, reason, contemplation before action, knowledge and education, and reality-based thinking.

What passes for conservatism today is washed-over, angry, reactionary populism that blames society's problems on everything but their own actions and on everyone but themselves.

Pathetic, really. True conservatism is nearly dead, and exists only in a handful of republicans and a few conservative democrats.

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 4 months ago

If we only knew what goes on in that Sodom called Greensburg, Kansas...

tomatogrower 8 years, 4 months ago

"shomesomethin (Anonymous) says… All these celebrities are already organizing a benefit concert for the Haitian earthquake victims… now where the hell were they after Katrina?"

Just like the whiner, Marion, was wrong about no countries offering help after Katrina (over 90 countries offered assistance), you are wrong about celebrities. Please research the facts before you post. You will get a reputation of passing on lies.

tomatogrower 8 years, 4 months ago

Question: When Marion and shomesomthin make so called "opinions" about how people never help out when the US has a natural disaster, then it is pointed out that they are wrong, why don't they ever come back and admit they are wrong? They are trying to pass on facts as their opinions, but their facts are wrong. Why don't they have the courage to say they are wrong? Or do they continue to pass on these lies to people who don't know any better, perhaps in spam emails that get passed around as truth. I would just like to know if they ever learned about the difference of facts and opinions in school.
Fact - Many other countries and celebrities came to the aid of Katrina victims. Opinion - Marion and shomesomthin don't like the fact that they are also helping people in other countries, especially one populated with black people. Just say it, instead of trying to spread facts that aren't true.

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