I have recently been irritated with the whole Haiti thing. Before you get the wrong idea and think I’m a mega-bitch, read on.
My irritation lies in the fact that I feel our sudden outreach is superficial and shallow. Let’s be real, Haiti was in shit condition before the earthquake took place, and no one gave a damn then. Children were starving and living in unlivable conditions before this event, yet why did we not reach out then?
I believe entitlement is the reason why. Let’s face it, giving money to the latest cause of trend is the ultimate privilege of the entitled, as evidenced by the snazzy ribbons worn by celebrities at awards shows. We get to decide when to care, and how much, and even the caring becomes a business opportunity–the truly rich get to invest in the damage and rebuild, the famous get publicity by telethon-ing their empathy. I suppose that charity has impact, no matter how shallow the roots.
I include myself in the group of the entitled. I fully believe I am entitled to my nice house, my career, money, eating out, shopping–all the things that make me the capitalist suburban American mom that I am today. I worked my ass off to get through college so I could be middle class, so I could watch 60 minutes report on the tragedies of Katrina or Haiti while I eat pizza and look away when it gets too painful and too real.
The one thing in this life I will never feel fully deserving of is my daughter and the joy she brings me. Putting her to bed tonight I looked at her sleeping in my arms,cried and thanked God for such a blessing–and I am not even religious. There is nothing I could have possibly done to be so lucky to have a beautiful, healthy, loving child safe in my arms, who wants for nothing. I would gladly give up everything else to ensure that my daughter never knows suffering the way the people of Haiti do, the way so many people know it everyday. And, since motherhood has made it so that I feel every child is in some way my child, I feel overwhelmed by tragedy, guilty for my luxurious life of entitlement and insignificant in impact.