Saturday, September 03, 2005

Do we really need international aid?

Yes, we took a massive blow to the gut, as a nation. Yes, we have lost cities and their populations, and it will take a very long time to rebuild the Gulf Coast into something comparable to what it had been only a week ago. But I keep thinking about all the offers for help we've gotten from nations both friendly and inimical, and I think we're neglecting to say something to them.

We should give them our sincerest thanks for their offers, and we should accept the immediate aid necessary to get us back up and running. But the Powers That Be can tell them that we are not only a proud nation, but a strong one, and it would take a lot more than losing the buildings in a handful of cities to keep us down for long. Once the grief of losing our people is eased slightly, we will dust ourselves off and begin again. America was always the land of new beginnings after great tribulations. Three hundred years ago, this land was settled by the ultimate "fresh-starters".

We have almost limitless resources, whether it be foods or woods or fuels or ingenuity. When pushed, we usually rise above even the worst events, because we are free to do so. Our spirit becomes renewed by our free faith. Our markets don't falter unless they're hobbled by legislation. Our highways open quickly, even though their construction is run by government bureaucracies. By and large, our private industries can and will pick up the slack, get us back in the swing of things without much prodding.

What we Americans must do is thank the many nations which have offered us aid, and then ask them if they could please help us by rescuing the people in flood-ravaged Sierra Leone, perhaps see if China and Taiwan need help after the typhoon hit them, offer assistance to Indonesia, hit once again -- this time by mudslides. We are eager to help others, and, in return, we are willing to accept help when and where we need it. Right now, most of our experts seem to think we don't need much more than ourselves and a handful of other experts to do what has to be done here. We may accept a few other offers, as the days & months progress, but the biggest help anybody can offer is to take the kids, so to speak, while we clean up our house. Easing somebody else's pain eases ours at the same time.

But, for those outside our country who genuinely stand by us, you should know that your generosity and kindness have turned me into the biggest crybaby this side of the Pacific Ocean. Each time I hear of another hand held out in friendship and aid, my eyes well over with tears once more. It is easy to think that the weight of the world rests on one nation's shoulders, and heartwarming to realize that the burden is willingly shared.

No matter what other words are spoken, remember that this American appreciates your friendship.

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