Don’t get me wrong, I do think the dispatching of Osama bin Laden was a newsworthy event, though, sadly, one which probably won’t expedite the end of the war on terror (there are too many other global factors at work). We’ve had our fun now, taking to the streets and waving our flags. Heck, even Fox News has changed his name from “Osama” to “Usama;” to what end, I do not know.
The reason all this gets under my skin is because the timely death of one man (ok, one monster and a few human shields) halfway across the world has taken all our attention away from the very real problems we have going on here at home. Tonight, thousands of people across the South will go to bed in temporary shelters because they no longer have homes to sleep in, and they are burying hundreds of their nearest and dearest who were taken at the whim of Mother Nature (that bitch). Communities along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers are facing the worst flooding they’ve seen in decades, flooding which may well eclipse the 1927 floods (and blowing up levees, which does sound like fun, may or may not be the answer).
These are people who need our attention, and our help. Give where your heart tells you — personally, I’m no fan of just blindly giving cash, especially to organizations who funnel a big chunk of that cash to “administrative costs” — but please don’t let these people suffer unnoticed. So many of us don’t have cash to give right now anyway, but we do have roofs (rooves?) over our heads, and I’ll bet we have goods we can share, whether it’s gently-used clothing or toys (toys may seem like a frivolous thing to give, but it could mean the world to a child who has lost everything), or nonperishable food items, or cleaning supplies. If you check in your area, you’re likely to find a church or charitable organization collecting items for transport, and a handy-dandy list of the items they’re collecting. Or, if cash donations are your thing, do a quick google search for “Alabama Tornado Relief” and try to give to the lesser-known organizations that are actually located in the communities they serve.
Please help, not because you want a tax deduction, or because you’re looking to create some karmic balance, but because it’s the right thing to do. And because, if it were your home, your community, your family, you wouldn’t want the public to forget about you as soon as the next story came along.