Sunday, September 04, 2005

International Aid for Katrina

The outpouring of aid from around the world is well documented elsewhere. Americans' response to this aid runs the gamut--everything from gratitude for help, to embarassment at our government's inability to take care of its own people. There is anger at the opportunistic politicization of the tragedy by Chavez, Islamists, and some Americans themselves, but also some surprise that many of the very countries our government has held in disdain are making offers of support.

Others are ashamed that resources that might otherwise have gone to places like Darfur are being expended on the richest country in the world. Certainly, most people agree that regardless of the political implications, aid that would save lives should be accepted. All of these responses are appropriate in their own way.

The best that can come of this disaster is the solace that can arise from all tragedies, natural and artificial--a renewed faith in the ability of people to come together and take care of each other. The worst outgrowth of disaster is the dashing of that hope. Let us respond to offers of aid with enough dignity and gratitude to bolster faith in humanity, and leave it to historians in a time of leisure to judge the motives of the governments giving and accepting aid.

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