ROFL: Random Outbursts From Lar! LarryNocella.com

18Jan/10Off

What Would Martin Do?

It began with the earthquake in Haiti (Jan. 12.) Then Pat Robertson told a bizarre fiction that blamed the suffering of the quake’s victims on the victims themselves (Jan. 13.) Over those insipid comments, I flew into a rage which sustained itself until today, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (Jan. 18.)

As usual, on this day, I wanted to say a few words about how much I respect Dr. King. I couldn't help but wonder how King would handle the cruel comments of Mr. Robertson. King was an advocate of ignoring critics as much as reasonably possible (See the opening paragraph of Letter from a Birmingham Jail) but still, I needed him for guidance.

It is clear that Mr. Robertson did not (and does not) give any consideration of the clever Christian guidance question, What Would Jesus Do? Then again, if honoring Dr. King was so important to me, why didn’t I give any thought to What Would Martin Do?

I mean, chances are pretty good that King never referred to someone he disliked as a "douche bag asshole," and that was among the more mild of my critiques of Robertson lately.

If I want to communicate that Dr. King has inspired me, then I need to show it. So my tribute to Dr. King this year is to slip into his shoes, imitate as flattery, select him as my avatar. Dr. King sought to inspire and so he did. He made me realize my rage at Pat Robertson was far less productive than a challenging examination of ourselves in the wake of the disaster in Haiti.

I don’t want to be Dr. King. I don’t want to think about what words he would say. I want to write the words that he inspired me to say. I can think of no greater compliment.

So, here we go, some thoughts on the Haiti quake. Inspiration by Dr. King, perspiration by Mr. Nocella.

Ahem.

We’ve all seen the pictures coming out of Haiti. We’ve heard the terrible stories, and in addition to the horrors, what's most disturbing is that they look so familiar. We've been here before. Another region teeming with poor, left by man to teeter on the brink of destruction, has been stricken by nature, completing its final push into the abyss.

No one will fault us for what we cannot control. While this disaster cannot be blamed entirely on poverty, its magnitude can. Imagine the quake striking a suburban American neighborhood equipped with well-worn roads, telecommunications, radios, sturdy housing, food distribution centers. The devastation would be greatly reduced.

With each disaster, the might of our electronic networks is brought to bear. At least financially, humanity is able to respond to need faster than ever before. Of course that's going to feel inadequate. Even if we were on the ground, handing out food and water, that would be inadequate. The dead are gone and nothing anyone can do will bring them back.

So we cannot stop here, proud of our ability to move money en masse to relief efforts, or we will forever be working on cure and neglecting much more effective prevention.

As Haiti staggers back from chaos to its mere edge, let's not allow fate to decide the next focus of our concern, let's focus ourselves. Let's note what other areas in the world are poor and prone to natural disaster. Let's go there next, giving and assisting the poor in establishing themselves a viable infrastructure before the inevitable strike of nature's wrath.

Imagine that in turn, those people assist us with the next region. On and on until there is not a single corner of the world that is ill-equipped to endure the lashing our mother earth always inevitably delivers.

You might call that impossible. It might be impossible, but when the task is caring for our fellow man, we cannot let the odds of our success limit the soaring ambition of our noble dreams.

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Larry Nocella writes The Semi-True Adventures of Lar blog at LarryNocella.com. He's the author of the novel Where Did This Come From? The world's first CarbonFree(R) novel according to Carbonfund.org. The book is available on Amazon.com as a paperback and Kindle eBook. It is also available for other eBook readers.