Thursday, January 14, 2010

Neighborly Concern

Haiti's misery deepens at a most inconvenient time, as America is consumed with its important late night wars. (Jay Leno reportedly will headline a charity concert for Haiti called "Laugh Your Rubble Away," free to Haitians still alive or able to walk.) Brutal reality is a Homeland buzz kill, especially when the dead and dying are seen as nannies and cab drivers, if not disease-ridden voodoo worshippers drenched in chicken blood. Our comfort comes first, and if there's any to spare we'll give it gladly, or leave it on the curb for pick up.

While genuine humanitarian groups are on the case, various crooks and parasites use catastrophes like this to appear humane and caring. Obama's big pledge to help Haiti sounds great so long as you don't take it too seriously. US imperialism has raped and strangled Haiti for nearly a century, adding to the French-sponsored anguish before that. Natural disasters merely worsen conditions created by regional wealth and power, so for the mouthpiece of a country responsible for much of Haiti's suffering to assure the natives that he has their best interests at heart is decidedly rich, but expected when not applauded.

Actually, this would be a good time for Obama to pretend that he's appalled by previous US actions (the earlier and more generalized the better), declaring a CHANGE in how we treat Haiti, starting with tactical relief efforts. Reactionaries will howl on cue, but it would be smart PR, and if Obama's team has anything left in that tank, they should use it now. It might deflect attention away from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia (umm, what's that other place again . . . Iraq? Yeah, them too), where Obama creates his own rubble, slaughtering poor people while trying to maintain an imperial grip. Then again, given the lack of open public outrage, diversion is probably unnecessary. Still, Obama may want to work whatever positive angle he can find. There's his re-election to consider, and you can never snow consumers enough.

Helping Obama is our old friend Pat Roberston, who clearly understands his role in the grand fiction. This dope's claim that Haiti suffers due to a deal with the devil is marvelously absurd and so over the top that it would easily win a drag beauty pageant scored by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Liberals are playing their part, booing and hissing Robertson who has no say in Haitian policy, while remaining relatively quiescent as Obama blows his dented horn. Robertson is a reliable if aging distraction, the Reagan era's Sarah Palin. His lunacy gives liberals a nostalgic contact high, much sweeter than today's sorry crop. It's tough to remain outraged while tweeting and texting, a hole in the multi-task heart.