Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Making Matters worse in Haiti

I may not always agree with Tony Campolo, but the guy never ceases to make me check my thinking. When I hear people complain about how the world hates America, watching my countries response to their recent earthquake made me proud of our generosity.

This article of Campolo's entitled Making Matters Worse in Haiti is a pretty interesting read.  On one hand, he lambastes what we've done in giving Haiti a giant handout:
 Altruistic Americans have done to the Haitians what an out-of-control welfare system has done to so many poor people here in the United States. It has made them into people who are socially and psychologically dependent on others to solve their problems and who have lost confidence in their own capabilities.
On the flip side, he sees that out necessity, it's what we've got to do:
Out of the necessities created by the recent earthquake, we Americans have no choice but to respond with a gigantic handout. Children are starving. Medical care is desperately needed and new housing must be constructed. In the short run, we Americans must respond to meet these needs. We have to fear, however, that when the dust from the earthquake clears the Haitians will have fallen into a deeper condition of dependency and will be even less inclined to see themselves as the best hope for their future.
To me, it's about thinking with your head and not just heart.  Welfare seems like a great idea, because in your heart of hearts, you don't want to see a Mom go hungry. On the flip side, when you get over feeling good for helping someone, you have to deal with the dependency you create.  Same goes with Haiti I guess.  I love America's heart to help Haiti, we just can't move on and not deal with the after-effects of our generousity.

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